The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) has taken a bold step by filing a compelling appeal before the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The appeal, consisting of 10 critical grounds, challenges the recent decision of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) and seeks to nullify the election victory of President-elect Bola Tinubu.
Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, the newly appointed counsel for APM, filed the notice of appeal, alleging multiple errors in law in the judgment rendered by the PEPC. At the heart of APM’s argument is the assertion that Sections 131 and 142(1) of the 1999 Constitution are inseparable and cannot be treated as mere pre-election matters. These sections, according to APM, lay down the qualifications required for anyone aspiring to the presidency.
APM’s petition goes beyond questioning President Tinubu’s nomination; it contends that he ran for the presidential election without a lawful running mate.
This claim is supported by the withdrawal of Ibrahim Kabir Masari and the subsequent expiration of the 14-day window for changing, withdrawing, or replacing candidates, as stipulated in Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2022. APM argues that these factors render Tinubu’s election invalid.
In a crucial point, APM accuses the PEPC of neglecting its duty and jurisdiction in addressing the core issue of whether President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima were “validly elected” as President and Vice President, as required by Section 239(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). APM emphasizes that the definition of “validly elected” encompasses the qualifications and disqualifications specified in the Constitution.
APM alleges that the lower court’s approach was to sidestep the weighty matter of valid election qualifications by treating it as a technical pre-election issue. As a remedy, APM beseeches the Supreme Court to uphold their appeal, asserting that Tinubu was not qualified to run as the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), as he violated Section 142(1) of the Constitution.
Additionally, the party seeks a declaration that the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) announcement of Tinubu as the President-elect is null and void, lacking any legal effect. APM’s argument extends to the withdrawal of Kabir Masari as the Vice Presidential candidate for Tinubu, which they assert resulted in the automatic invalidation of the APC candidate.
APM concludes its appeal by requesting an order that nullifies all votes received by the APC in the presidential election held on February 25. They further call for INEC to declare the candidate with the second-highest vote count as the winner of the presidential election.
This appeal now sets the stage for a critical legal battle in Nigeria’s highest court, with potential far-reaching consequences for the nation’s political landscape. The Supreme Court will undoubtedly be closely watched as it deliberates on this complex and contentious matter.