On Wednesday in Abuja, three attorneys from Abuja petitioned the Federal High Court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the nominations of Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi as candidates for the 2023 presidential election.
The lawyers, among others, are upset because their respective political parties illegally nominated Tinubu, Atiku, and Obi.
Ataguba Aboje, Oghenovo Otemu, and Ahmed Yusuf are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit designated FHC/ABJ/CS/1004/2022.
In addition to INEC, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the Labour Party (LP) are the other defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed on June 29.
The plaintiffs claim that the conduct of the primary elections that produced their presidential candidates violated the terms of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2022, in the lawsuit brought on their behalf by Ataguba Aboje.
They claim, among other things, that the three parties broke the law by failing to choose their vice presidential nominees prior to the conduct of their primary elections as required by the law.
They ask the court to rule on a number of things, including whether the Vice President of Nigeria is an elective post subject to the same qualifications as the President of Nigeria under the provisions of Sections 131, 141, and 142 of the 1999 Constitution.
They also asked the court to rule on whether a candidate for an election to the office of the vice president in Nigeria must be sponsored by a political party under the terms of Sections 131, 141, and 142 of the Constitution and Sections 29, 32, 84, and 152 of the Electoral Act of 2022, and whether such a candidate can be deemed to have been duly nominated and declared the winner of a primary election under the same circumstances.
The plaintiffs also ask the court to rule on whether, under the same legal provisions, INEC is permitted to accept from a political party the nomination of a candidate for the office of President who took part in the primary election alone without also nominating a candidate as an associate of that party to hold the office of Vice President.
After the issues are resolved, the attorneys want the court to declare that a candidate for the office of Vice President must be supported by a political party in accordance with Section 84 of the Electoral Act of 2022 and that the office of Vice President is an elective office subject to the same qualifications as the office of the President.
In a similar vein, the attorneys are requesting a ruling that the APC, PDP, and LP candidates for the office of the Vice President must take part in their respective primaries alongside their respective candidates for the office of the President in order to be recognized as legitimately elected.
Plaintiffs also requested a further declaration that any Presidential candidates who did not run with their respective vice-presidential candidates in their respective primaries were ineligible to be nominated.
Due to their failure to follow the statutory requirements of Sections 131 and 142 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Sections 29, 32, 84, and 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022, they consequently moved for an injunction prohibiting INEC from recognizing Presidential candidates of the APC, PDP, and LP.
Plaintiffs asserted in their 27-paragraph affidavit supporting the originating summons and under oath before Ataguba Aboje that it is their duty as lawyers to ensure that no one or group rules or seizes control of the Nigerian government other than in accordance with the democratic provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
They said that under the 1999 Constitution, a Presidential candidate must be supported by a political party and that such nominations are not valid until the candidate chooses a member of the same party to serve as his running mate.
Plaintiffs claimed that the APC, PDP, and LP did not simultaneously designate candidates for the vice-presidential position while holding their respective presidential primaries in which Tinubu, Atiku, and Obi were declared winners.
Additionally, they claimed that several days after the conclusion of their respective primaries, the APC, PDP, and LP submitted the names of Alhaji Kabir Masari, Senator Ifeanyi kowa, and Dr. Doyin Okupe to INEC as their respective Vice Presidential candidates, and as a result, the nomination of their Presidential candidates is in violation of the 1999 Constitution.
The hearing for the lawsuit has not yet had a date set.
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