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A Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to stop the All Progressives Congress from replacing Alhaji Kabiru Masari as the running mate to its presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The PUNCH reported that shortly after Tinubu emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC, Masari’s name was submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission as an interim vice presidential candidate popularly called Placeholder.

However, two chieftains of the APC, who were delegates at the party’s primary and convention, Zakari Maigari and Zubainatu Mohammed, approached the court to stop INEC from accepting a change of the vice-presidential candidate from the APC.

The APC, INEC, Tinubu, and Kabiru Masari were joined as defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ CS/1059/2022 and dated July 4, 2022.

The plaintiffs in the suit filed by their lawyer, Hakeem Kareem, want the court to determine whether having regard to the combined effect of sections 142(1) and sections 29(1), 31, and 33 of the Electoral Act, it was legally permissible for the fourth defendant to withdraw as the vice-presidential candidate of the first defendant and the running mate of the third defendant so as to be substituted or replaced with another person by the first defendant as its candidate for the office of the Vice President, for purpose of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.

Among other reliefs, they also want the court to determine whether in view of the joint ticket provision in section 142 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the withdrawal of the fourth defendant as the candidate for the office of Vice President does not entail the automatic withdrawal of the third defendant as the candidate for the office of President for purpose of the 2003 general election.The plaintiffs want the court to determine whether having regard to the combined effect of sections 142 (1) and sections 29 (1), 31, and 33 of the Electoral Act, it was legally permissible for the fourth defendant to withdraw as the vice-presidential candidate of the first defendant and the running mate of the third defendant so as to be substituted or replaced with another person by the first defendant as its candidate for the office of Vice President for purpose of the February 25, 2023, presidential election.

 

They also want the court to determine whether in view of the joint ticket provision in section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the withdrawal of the fourth defendant as the candidate for the office of Vice President does not entail the automatic withdrawal of the third defendant as the candidate for the office of President for purpose of the 2023 general election.

 

The plaintiffs pointed out that Section 187 (1) of the Constitution creates the governorship candidate and deputy governorship candidate’s joint ticket, just as section 142(1) establishes the joint ticket for the presidential candidate and vice-presidential candidate.

 

“Accordingly, it is submitted that the same principles apply in both situations. In the case of the governorship candidate and deputy governorship candidate’s joint ticket, it was held in the Peoples Democratic Party versus Degi Eremienyo (2020) LPELR-49734(SC), pp. 8-16, it was held: The sum total is that the joint ticket of the first and second respondents sponsored by the three respondents was vitiated by the disqualification of the first respondent. Both candidates disqualified are deemed not to be candidates for the governorship election conducted in Bayelsa State.

 

“Similarly, it was held in Tafida v. Bafarawa & others (1999) LPELR-6510 (CA), pp. 19-23, as follows: “On the non-joinder of one Alhaji Modi Yabo, who was said to have nominated the appellant as his running mate, it is true that the petitioner/appellant and Alhaji Modi Yabo must be seen as birds of same feathers that must ascend (fly) together and descend together. Each is a necessary complement to the other. One cannot fall alone leaving the other standing. Nay, they must stand or fall together,” the suit stated.

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