Ex-APC delegates ask court to stop Masari’s replacement as Tinubu’s VP candidate
A federal high court sitting in Abuja has been asked to stop the All Progressives Congress (APC) from replacing Kabiru Masari as the running mate of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
It could be recalled that Tinubu had picked Masari as a placeholder, an interim vice presidential candidate of the APC, pending the announcement of a substantive running mate, in order to meet the schedule of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, two delegates at the just concluded APC National Convention, Zakari Maigari and Zubainatu Mohammed, has gone to court to stop Masari’s replacement as Tinubu’s running mate.
The two delegates, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ CS/1059/2022 and dated July 4, 2022, asked the court to hold that withdrawing Masari as running mate would amount to the invalidation of the joint ticket of the party.
The duo asked the court to determine whether, by the combined effect of sections 142(1), 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act, it is legally permissible for Masari to be withdrawn as the vice presidential candidate of the APC and Tinubu’s running mate and be substituted or replaced with another person by the APC.
Also, the two delegates want the court to determine whether, given the joint ticket provision in Section 142(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the withdrawal of Masari as the candidate for the Office of Vice President does not entail the automatic withdrawal of Tinubu as APC candidate for the Office of President for the purpose of the 2023 general elections.
The court was also asked to determine, having regard to the provisions of sections 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, whether the APC is entitled to submit the name of any other person to replace 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.
The plaintiffs argued that Section 187(1) of the Constitution created a joint ticket for the governorship and deputy-governorship candidates, just as Section 142(1) established a joint ticket for the presidential and vice presidential candidates.
If the suit succeeds, it will also affect other political parties with similar arrangements, including the Labour Party (LP) which has Doyin Okupe as a placeholder.
The suit is yet to be fixed for hearing.