Tinubu APC Delegates Moves To Block Masari’s Replacement

A group of delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to stop the party from replacing Kabiru Masari as the running mate to the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.

Africa Today News, New York recalls that just a few days after Tinubu emerged as the APC flagbearer after the party convention in Abuja, the party had submitted Masari’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the vice-presidential candidate, in a ‘placeholder’ capacity.

However, two chieftains of the party and delegates who participated in the just concluded APC national convention, Zakari Maigari and Zubainatu Mohammed yesterday approached the court to stop INEC from accepting a change of vice-presidential candidate from APC.

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

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They prayed the court to determine whether it was legally permissible for Masari to withdraw as the vice-presidential candidate of the APC so as to be substituted or replaced with another person by the party, with regards to the combined effect of sections 142(1) and sections 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act.

Relying on the joint ticket provision in section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the plaintiffs prayed the court to determine whether the withdrawal of Masari as the vice-presidential candidate does not entail the automatic withdrawal of Tinubu as the APC presidential candidate for purpose of the 2023 general elections.

They, therefore, sought the following reliefs:

‘Whether having regard to the combined effect of sections 142(1) and sections 29(1), 31, and 33 of the Electoral Act, it is legally permissible for the 4 Defendant, Masari, to withdraw as the vice-presidential candidate of the 1st Defendant, APC, and the running mate of the 3 Defendant, Bola Tinubu, so as to be substituted or replaced with another person by the 1st Defendant, APC as its candidate for the office of Vice President for purpose of the February 25, 2023, Presidential Election.

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 4h Defendant, MASARI, as the candidate for the office of Vice President does not entail the automatic withdrawal of the 3′ Defendant, Tinubu, as the candidate for the office of President for purpose of the 2023 General Elections.

Whether having regard to the provisions of sections 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the 1″ Defendant , APC, is entitled to submit the name of any other person to replace the name of the 4 Defendant , MASARI, as the candidate for the office of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, without holding a fresh primary election to produce a fresh presidential candidate.

Whether the 3 Defendant, Tinubu, having nominated the 4 Defendant, Masari, in compliance with section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the 3 Defendant, Tinubu, can subsequently validly undertake or effect nomination of any other person to replace the Masari, whether upon withdrawal of the 4 Defendant, Masari or under any other circumstances, in view of the provisions of section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

The plaintiffs pointed out that Section 187 (1) of the Constitution creates the governorship candidate and deputy-governorship candidate 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,” they said. “In the case of the governorship candidate and deputy governorship candidate joint ticket, it was held in PDP v. DEGI EREMIENYO (2020) LPELR-49734(SC), pp. 8-16, it was held: The sum total is that the joint ticket of the 1st and 2nd respondents sponsored by the 3 respondent was vitiated by the disqualification of the 1st respondent. Both candidates disqualified are deemed not to be candidates at the governorship election conducted in Bayelsa State, ‘

Africa Today News, New York gathered that if this suit truly represents the law, then not only the APC will be affected. Labour Party which also has Dr Doyin Okupe as placeholder and other political parties with similar arrangements would be affected.

Africa Today News, New York

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