A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu; and his Labour Party counterpart, Peter Obi, for using placeholder before picking their running mates for next year’s presidential election in the country.
The court said that the dismissal was due its inability to entertain a suit on running mate selection and that the case brought before it by the opposition party was a gross abuse of country’s court process.
Justice Donatus Okoronkwo, who presided over the case on Monday, noted that all the reliefs sought by the PDP cannot be granted considering it status.
The PDP is claiming that the Electoral Act 2022 did not make provision for a “placeholder” or temporary running mate and that the replacement of running mates is not applicable to Ibrahim Masari and Doyin Okupe who were both picked by Tinubu and Obi earlier.
PDP is also contending that Tinubu and Obi can only qualify to contest the 2023 presidential election with Masari and Okupe, as their respective running mates and not Kassim Shettima and Datti Baba-Ahmed.
The PDP further claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission lacked the power to accept any withdrawal or substitution of Masari and Okupe without the APC and Labour Party conducting fresh primaries to substitute Tinubu and Obi, amongst others.
Obi had selected Okupe as his placeholder to beat INEC’s deadline but later replaced him with Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Similarly, Masari was also the placeholder to Tinubu but the APC candidate later substituted him with ex-governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima.
Also in the race with Tinubu and Obi is PDP’s Atiku Abubakar, amongst other presidential candidates.