For the second time, a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday shifted judgment delivery in a suit instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the propriety of the substitution of the running mates for the All Progress Congress (APC) and Labour Party to September 15.
The running mates whose substitution are being challenged by PDP are Kabiru Masari and Doyin Okupe of the APC and Labour Party respectively.
THOUGH THE VERDICT WAS SLATED FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, A REGISTRAR OF THE COURT INFORMED LAWYERS, NEWSMEN AND POLITICIANS IN THE COURTROOM THAT IT HAD BEEN SHIFTED TILL THURSDAY BY 11AM.
Justice Donatus Okorowo is billed to deliver the judgment although no reason was adduced to the shift in date.
This is the second time the court will be shifting delivery of the verdict earlier fixed for last Tuesday.
In the suit filed by Gordy Uche SAN, on behalf of PDP, the party is claiming that the Electoral Act 2022 did not make provision for a “place holder” or temporary running mate and that time for resignation, withdrawal or substitution of presidential candidates or conduct of fresh primaries to replace them is not applicable to Masari and Okupe.
PDP is also contending that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate and Peter Obi, Labour Party’s presidential candidates can only qualify to contest the 2023 presidential election with Masari and Okupe as their respective running mates.
The plaintiff further claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, lacked power to accept any withdrawal or substitution of Masari and Okupe without APC and Labour Party conducting fresh primaries to substitute Tinubu and Peter Obi.
PDP averred that Masari and Okupe are not products of any primary election and as such were not validly nominated by APC and Labour Party.
It also stated that INEC cannot validly make any other election time table for the change and substitution of Masari and Okupe and that the candidacy of Tinubu and Obi are tied to the pair and cannot be severed, altered or changed any day later than June 17, 2022.