Kenneth Okonkwo, a prominent member of the Labour Party, LP, has expressed his disagreement with the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal regarding the dual nomination of Vice President Kashim Shettima.
Okonkwo contended that election petition judgments should be finalized before candidates are inaugurated into office. He raised questions about why the tribunal would rely on Shettima’s letter to the All Progressives Congress, APC, considering that the party had not officially nominated him for the positions of Vice President and Senator for Borno Central senatorial seat.
It was reported that the tribunal had dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), which sought Shettima’s disqualification. The APM argued that the APC’s nomination of Shettima as the vice-presidential candidate was improper since he had also been nominated as the APC candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District.
The opposition party claimed that Shettima was still the APC candidate for the senatorial seat on July 14 when he accepted the vice-presidential nomination. However, in its ruling on the matter, the PEPT declared it a pre-election issue and asserted that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case.
In response, Okonkwo suggested that the letter might have been written after Shettima was nominated for the vice-presidential candidacy. In a statement by Okonkwo on X, he said, “I just listened to the initial judgment of the PEPC and observed how the court relied on a supposed letter of withdrawal sent to the APC by Shettima on the 6th of July, 2023, as evidence of his intention not to be nominated for both the Borno Central Senatorial seat and the Vice-Presidential position.”
He went on to point out that on July 10, 2023, at Daura, Tinubu openly declared that he had chosen Shettima as the Vice-Presidential candidate, and Shettima was not aware of it at the time. Okonkwo questioned how someone could withdraw their nomination for the Senate due to their Vice-Presidential nomination at a time when they were unaware they would be nominated for the Vice-Presidential role.
He further argued that many people believed the letter was written after the respondents realized they might be violating the double nomination provision. Okonkwo stressed the importance of logical evaluation of evidence and emphasized that election petition judgments should be completed before candidates take office.
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