Disqualification: Obi asks court to dismiss PDP’s suit
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a suit seeking his disqualification for nominating his campaign manager, Doyin Okupe, as his placeholder.
The PUNCH had reported last week that the Peoples Democratic Party had asked the court to bar Obi from replacing Okupe as his running mate.
The PDP had also prayed the court to prevent the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, from replacing Kabiru Masari as his running mate.
However, Obi went ahead to nominate Baze University’s proprietor, Yusuf Baba-Ahmed, as his running mate while Okupe resigned. Similarly, Tinubu replaced Masari with Senator Kashim Shettima.
Responding to the originating motion, Mr. Alex Ejesieme (SAN), the lawyer representing Obi and Okupe, asked the court to dismiss the prayers of the PDP on four grounds.
In the preliminary objection brought pursuant to Order 29 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court, Ejesieme argued that the PDP’s suit is speculative, conjectural in nature and devoid of hard facts.
“The plaintiff has not disclosed any reasonable cause of action to activate the jurisdiction of this court. The subject matter of the plaintiff’s suit is not situated within the jurisdictional confines of the Federal High Court. The plaintiff’s suit is a gross abuse of court process,” he argued.
Earlier, the PDP had argued that the term ‘placeholder’ is unknown to the Electoral Act and that Okupe had admitted publicly that he was a mere placeholder
Responding on behalf of Obi and Okupe, their lawyer argued, “Assuming it is established that the third (Tinubu) and sixth (Obi) defendants did indeed make media publications indicating the alleged placeholder status of the fourth (Kabiru Madari) and seventh (Okupe) defendants, does that in its own right constitute a wrongdoing sufficient to activate the cause of action on the plaintiff?
“Is the conduct of the elections for which the defendants are to contest in, bound by the statements made in the media? Obviously not, my lord.”