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PEPT: Lawyer Calls For Conclusion Of Tribunal Before Swearing-in

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PEPT: Lawyer Calls For Conclusion Of Tribunal Before Swearing-in

A lawyer and chieftain of the Labour Party, LP, Kenneth Okonkwo has faulted the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the double nomination of Vice President Kashim Shettima.

Okonkwo said the judgment of election petitions should be concluded before candidates are sworn-in.

He wondered why the tribunal would rely on Shettima’s letter to the All Progressives Congress, APC, when the party did not nominate him for the position of Vice President and Senator for Borno Central senatorial seat.

The tribunal had earlier thrown out a suit brought by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) seeking Shettima’s disqualification.

The party argued that Tinubu was improperly sponsored by the APC since he nominated Shettima as his vice-presidential candidate for the election.

The opposition party had claimed that Shettima was still the APC candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District on July 14 when he accepted the nomination for vice-presidential candidate.

But, ruling on the case on Wednesday, the PEPT ruled that it is a pre-election matter and therefore, lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Reacting, Okonkwo suggested that the letter would have been written after Shettima was nominated.

A statement by Okonkwo on X reads: “Just listened to the initial judgement of the PEPC and saw how the court relied on a purported letter of withdrawal written to APC by Shettima on the 6th of July,2023, to indicate an intention not to be doubly nominated for both the position of Borno Central Senatorial seat and that of the Vice-President.

“Maybe the court forgot that it was on the 10th of July, 2023, at Daura, that Tinubu said openly that he has chosen Shettima as Vice-Presidential candidate and that Shettima was not aware of it yet.

“How can someone withdraw his nomination from the Senate because of nomination for the Vice-Presidential seat at a time when he wasn’t aware that he was going to be nominated for the post of the Vice-President.

“This is why a lot of people believe the letter was written after the Respondents realised that they were in trouble of offending the double nomination provision.

“Evaluation of evidence must be logical. This is why judgement in election petitions must be concluded before candidates are sworn in.”

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