Senior Advocate of Nigeria and elder statesman, Chief Robert Clarke, has said the verdict of the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the Presidential Petition Election Tribunal on the Allied Peoples Movement’s petition challenging the qualification of Vice President, Kashim Shettima, was correct.
The tribunal dismissed the petition on Wednesday as it said it was a pre-election matter, which ought to have been challenged before the conduct of the presidential election.
“The issue of qualification or disqualification is a constitutional one. The issue of disqualification or qualification is a pre-election matter. It must be determined before the conduct of the election. This court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and even if it does it is status-barred because it is a pre-election matter,” Tsammani said.
Reacting to the dismissal of the matter while speaking as a guest on Arise News TV programme, Clarke said it was obvious that the case brought by the APM to disqualify Shettima was not in the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
The elder statesman, however, said the petitioners have the right to seek redress in the Supreme Court, stressing, “The Constitution only allows the Tribunal to look into the conduct of an election and not to look at the matters that are not part of the election.
“But, what I’m saying is that there are two sides of the coin. The litigants have gotten the judgment of the tribunal, but can still go to the Supreme Court whether the matter is a pre-election matter or not.”
“The tribunal is correct. I have no hesitation in saying I accept the verdict of the tribunal. By the virtue of the provision of our own law, our constitution either of the parties may wish to apply,” Clarke added.