The Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was not disqualified from running for president in 2023 by the Federal High Court, which was sitting in Abuja on Monday.
In a decision by Justice Donatus Okorowo, the court similarly declined to nullify Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s bid for the presidency as the All Progressives Congress, APC, flag bearer.
The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) lawsuit against the two presidential candidates was found to be without merit and should be dismissed, the court said.
The PDP had gone before the court and accused Obi and Tinubu of violating the Electoral Act.
It informed the court that, in violation of election law rules, both Obi and Tinubu neglected to designate their running mates in a timely manner and instead chose to transfer their Vice Presidential tickets to stand-ins temporarily.
The PDP informed the court that while Dr. Doyin Okupe was chosen as a stand-in for the Labour Party’s candidate, Obi, the APC candidate, Tinubu, submitted the name of Alhaji Kabiru Masari as his stand-in.
Plaintiff, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022, contended that the Electoral Act, 2022, did not make provision for a “place holder” or temporary running mate.
It claimed that both the LP and the APC had violated the law and the constitution by subsequently resigning, withdrawing, or replacing Okupe and Masari.
The PDP insisted that Okupe and Masari, respectively, could only be Obi and Tinubu’s running mates in the 2023 presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, was further said to be without the authority to accept any withdrawal or replacement of Okupe and Masari without the LP and the APC holding new primaries to replace Obi and Tinubu.
Okupe and Masari, according to PDP’s testimony before the court, were not legitimately nominated by the LP and the APC because neither was the result of a primary election.
In the meantime, Justice Okorowo said in his decision on Monday that the lawsuit was not only incompetent but also amounted to serious legal system abuse.
The lawsuit was dismissed after the court determined that it lacked the authority to hear an incompetent case.
“This suit qualifies as one which amounts to an abuse of court process”, Justice Okorowo held.