The Peoples Democratic Party has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission to disqualify the candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; and the Labour Party, Peter Obi; over the replacement of their running mates.
Premium Politics had earlier reported that Tinubu nominated Katsina-born politician, Kabiru Masari, as his placeholder to beat the June 17 INEC deadline.
In the same vein, Obi had nominated his campaign manager, Doyin Okupe, as an interim running mate.
However, INEC gave a grace period of about one month to substitute their names. While Tinubu later announced former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, as his running mate; Obi announced Datti Baba-Ahmed as his mate.
But the PDP asked the court to declare that Tinubu and Obi be disqualified unless they contest alongside their previous running mates – Masari and Okupe respectively.
The PDP asked the court to determine if by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, and INEC’s timetable, Tinubu and Obi are bound by the submission of Masari and Okupe respectively as their running mates.
The party also asked the court to determine if “by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the first defendant (INEC) can validly accept any change or substitution of the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Okupe) defendants as running mates of the 3rd (APC) and 6th (Labour Party) defendants.”
The PDP is also seeking five reliefs including a declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s timetable, both Tinubu and Obi must be bound by their submission.
The party asked the court to rule that both Tinubu and Obi will be disqualified the moment they substitute the names of their running mates.
One of the reliefs reads, “A declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the 1st defendant’s (INEC’s) election timetable, the 3rd (Tinubu) and 6th (Obi) cannot validly contest the 2023 Presidential election without the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Obi) respondents as their respective running mates.”
The PDP also based its argument on the fact that the term ‘placeholder’ is unknown to Nigerian law.
“The Electoral Act makes no provisions whatsoever for placeholder or temporary running mates. The acts of the 2nd (APC), 3rd (Tinubu), 5th (Labour Party ) and 6th (Obi) defendants in nominating and forwarding the names of the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Okupe) defendants as running mates for the 2023 Presidential elections is valid and subsisting,” the party added.