The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the objections raised by President Bola Tinubu and his vice, Senator Kashim Shettima against its appeal seeking to upturn the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC)
The party claimed that the objections by Tinubu and Shetima are incompetent and frivolous in nature.
The appellant, through its lead counsel, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), contended that the notice of preliminary objection is not only lacking in merit but also misleading in law as it only attacked some grounds of the notice of appeal, leaving out other grounds.
Ume specifically argued that the said notice of preliminary objection filed by the 3rd and 4th respondents, (Tinubu and Shetima) only challenged the competence of grounds 1,2,3,5,6 and 7 of the APM’s notice of appeal thereby accepting grounds 4, 8, 9 and 10 of the notice of appeal as good and competent grounds of appeal.
Picking holes in the notice of preliminary objection, the APM’s lead counsel referred the Apex Court to the case law in Ayorinde V Kuforiji (2022) LPELR -56600 and submitted that “the law is trite that where a respondent to an appeal intends to challenge the competence of certain grounds of appeal as contained in the notice of appeal, he shall file a motion on notice and not a notice of preliminary objection as the 3rd and 4th respondents have erroneously done”.
The senior lawyer submitted that the effect of filing the notice of preliminary objection in place of a motion on notice as the 3rd and 4th respondents have erroneously done in the instant appeal is that the said notice of preliminary objection is incompetent and liable to be struck out or be dismissed as was held in Eneyo & Ors V Ngere & Ors (2022) LPELR -5880 (Supreme Court) decision.
The appellant said another virus that made 3rd and 4th respondent’s notice of preliminary objection incompetent is that ” all the legal submissions made in support of the notice of preliminary objection were exclusively in a “written address” attached to the notice and not a word, phrase or sentence was made in the brief of argument in support of the notice.”
In its notice of appeal marked SC/CV/936/2023, pending before the Supreme Court, APM is seeking an order setting aside the return and declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 Presidential election on the grounds that it was made in violation of Section 142 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
Before that, the party had prayed the Apex Court to allow its appeal and set aside the judgement of the PEPC for being perverse and having occasioned a miscarriage of justice against it.
It equally prayed the Supreme Court to order that Tinubu was not qualified to contest as the presidential candidate of the APC, having violated 142 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
A declaration that having regard to the joint-ticket principle enshrined in section 142(1) of the 1999 constitution, the withdrawal of Kabir Masari as the Vice presidential candidate of the APC, by operation of the law amounted to automatic withdrawal and invalidation of the candidature of Tinubu as the presidential candidate.
It is equally pressing for an order of court, nullifying and voiding all the votes scored by Tinubu in the disputed election that was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in view of his non-qualification as a candidate of the APC.
The APM’s appeal, which is predicated on 10 grounds distilled into three issues by its legal team faulted the September 6 judgment of the PEPC dismissing its petition for lack of locus standi.
APM contended that the PEPC painstakingly failed to consider the provisions of sections 130, 137, 139, 142 and 239 of the 1999 Constitution as well as sections 29, 31, 33 and 34 of the Electoral Act, 2022, as they apply to its quest for the validity or otherwise of the said election of Tinubu and Shettima as president and vice president.
That by holding that its petition is a pre-election matter, the PEPC erred in law when it misinterpreted Section 142 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as a pre-election provision.
That its petition was not founded solely on nomination, but primarily that the 3rd respondent (Tinubu) contested the election without a lawful associate running as his vice president.
That its complaint is not predicated on sections 285 (9) or 285 (14) of the 1999 Constitution as erroneously held by the lower court and that by striking out the name of Kabir Masari from the petition, the PEPC unwittingly divested itself of its jurisdiction.