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2023 polls: Supreme Court throws out fresh legal action against Tinubu

A fresh suit seeking to prohibit President Bola Tinubu from parading himself as Nigeria’s President and from performing statutory functions as the winner of the 2023 presidential election has been dismissed by the Supreme Court, as per DAILYPOST.informationguidenigeria

The suit, instituted against Tinubu by a former presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Ambrose Albert Owuru of the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, was dismissed by the apex court for being vexatious, irritating, baseless and unwarranted.

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It was thrown out on Monday by a 5-man panel of Justices of the Court presided over by Justice John Inyang Okoro.

Shortly after the case was announced, a lawyer, Olawuyi Olaoluwa Habeebullahi announced his appearance for the former presidential candidate and his party.

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He was subsequently asked to brief the Court on the grievances of his clients against the respondents in the matter.NYSC Portal

But rather than answering the question, the lawyer shocked the Court when he announced that he knew virtually nothing about the case because he was briefed in less than two hours before coming to the Supreme Court.

Apparently taken aback by the claim of the lawyer, Justice Okoro asked him whether he knew where he was.

He responded that he was in the Supreme Court.

As per DAILYPOST, Justice Okoro then asked him to take the case to his house for determination because the Supreme Court of Nigeria does not go into such a case that has no known legal direction.

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The presiding Justice probed the lawyer on whether he has a chamber of his own and whether he is practising under supervision of any known senior lawyer which he answered negatively.JAMB Portal

In the drama that ensued, other Justices in the panel bombarded him with a series of questions, especially on whether he knew the status of the Supreme Court in the hierarchy of Nigeria’s judiciary but which he could not positively answer.

Counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Bimbo Ogundele in a response, described the case as one of the worst in the history of Nigeria’s judiciary.

The AGF lawyer drew the attention of the Court to the fact that the 2019 presidential election was conducted on February 23, while Owuru and HDP were laying claim to an election of February 16, 2019.

In the end, the lawyer to the appellants opted to plead for an adjournment of the case but was denied.

He subsequently applied for withdrawal of the case after a thorough baptism of fire through probing questions.

Justice Okoro in a brief ruling dismissed the suit for being a senseless one without any sense of direction.

He warned the lawyer who claimed to have been called to the Nigerian Bar in 2018 to stop putting his career on the line through engagement in frivolous cases.

“Don’t do this type of thing again in your own career. You may not be lucky like today if you do it again”, he said.

Owuru who claimed to be a constitutional lawyer and called to the Nigerian Bar in the early 1980s, had dragged Tinubu before the Supreme for allegedly unlawfully presenting himself for inauguration as President in spite of a pending legal action he filed against the conduct of the 2023 presidential poll.

Citing the doctrine of Lis Pendens, the 2019 presidential candidate asked the Apex Court to nullify the inauguration of Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 presidential poll.

Owuru, contended that the presidential election which produced Tinubu was an exercise in futility and illegal in view of his yet to be determined suit against Tinubu and others at the Supreme Court.

The suit in the Supreme Court with No. SC/667/2023 has Chief A.A. Owuru and Hope Democratic Party as Appellants, while Respondents are former President Muhammadu Buhari, AGF, INEC, and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Owuru argued that Tinubu’s declaration as President by INEC is an affront to the Supreme Court and the established law by reason of lis pendens, adding that since Tinubu is a party in the pending suit before the Apex Court, he ought not to have presented himself for inauguration in respect of any presidential poll.

Owuru claimed to have contested the 2019 presidential election on the platform of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) against former President Muhammadu Buhari and claimed to be adjudged winner of the poll as against the declaration of Buhari made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).JAMB Result

His suit sought an order of the Court to declare him as the adjudged and constitutional winner of the February 16, 2019, election and that he must be allowed to spend his four years tenure before any election, including that of 2023 can be recognized and accepted..

In a motion on notice served on Tinubu through the Chambers of Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, the ex-presidential candidate also prayed the Supreme Court for an order restraining the respondents and particularly Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu from further operating the Federation Account pending the determination and resolution of the constitutional questions against the 2023 election.

Owuru, who claimed to be adjudged Constitutional winner of the 2019 presidential election, predicated his grouse against inauguration of Tinubu or anybody else as successor to Buhari on the ground that he is the constitutionally adjudged winner of the 2019 election and has not spent his four year tenure as required by law.

Among others, Owuru had insisted then that Buhari was usurping his tenure of office since 2019 because the Supreme Court had not determined his petition filed in 2019, in which he had challenged the purported declaration of Buhari as the election winner.

Owuru had prayed the Court to order Buhari to refund to him all monies he collected as salaries, allowances and emoluments for usurping his tenure and in the alternative, to be declared winner of the 2019 presidential poll to spend his tenure of four years before Tinubu’s election can be recognized.

His suit was first dismissed by Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on January 30, 2023, prompting his movement to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on its own part on May 25, 2023, in a judgment by Justice Jamil Tukur who led a 3-man panel, refused to stop the May 29 inauguration of Tinubu.

Justice Tukur held that Owuru engaged in gross abuse of court process by filing a frivolous, vexatious and irritating suit to provoke the respondents.

A fine of N40m was imposed on him by the Court of Appeal to be paid to former President Muhammadu Buhari, AGF, INEC and Tinubu.

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing. Whatapp: 08088735884

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