Buhari, AGF shun suit seeking to stop Tinubu’s inauguration on May 29, INEC, Tinubu asked for dismissal

President Mohammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF, Abubakar Malami SAN on Friday evening shunned hearing in a suit seeking to prohibit the inauguration of the President- elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29.

Buhari and AGF who are the first and second respondents in the suit instituted by a former Presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuro did not file any process or have any legal representation at the hearing of the suit at the Court of Appeal Abuja, despite been served with hearing notice.

However the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC), which conducted the 2019 Presidential election and which was a subject tof dispute asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss the case of Owuro who claimed to be adjudged the constitutional winner of the 2019 Presidential election.

The electoral body which is the 3rd respondent in the appeal described Owuru’s claim as adjudged constitutional winner of the of 2019 Presidential election as frivolous, baseless, irritating and unwarranted.

Represented by a legal practitioner, Hassan Halilu INEC faulted the claims of Owuru and urged the Court of Appeal to dismiss it with heavy cost on the ground that the suit lacked merit.

On his part, the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who joined the suit as an interested party at the Court of Appeal argued that the claims of Owuru to the 2019 Presidential election was not only strange but baseless, frivolous and un- meritorious.

Tinubu through his counsel, Adelani Ajibade from the Chamber of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN told the three man panel of the Court of Appeal that the purported constitutional rights being claimed and asserted by the former Presidential candidate had been extinguished by a Supreme Court judgment which nullified his petition filed against the 2019 Presidential election.

The President-elect whose brief of argument was filed on May 19 demanded for outright dismissal of the suit with 20 million naira cost to be paid to the respondents by Owuru and his party, Hope Democratic Party (HDP).

Meanwhile Justice Jamil Tukur who headed the three-man panel of justice in the hearing of the matter has adjourned judgment indefinitely.

Justice Tukur said that parties in the appeal would be communicated as soon as the judgment is ready.

Before the hearing of the suit Justice Tukur has ordered Owuru to vacate the seat reserved for only Senior Advocates of Nigeria members of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Justice Tukur upon sighting Owuru sitting on the reserved seat, challenged him on when he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to which Owuru answered in the negative.

Attempts by Owurou to persuade the court to consider his position as a senior lawyer in the country was rejected by Justice Tukur who told the former presidential candidate that even if he is as old as Methuselah in the bar, as a lawyer, he is not entitled to be on the seat reserved for senior advocates only.

” Even if you are older than Methuselah in the Nigerian, you have no place at the Inner Bar and you are not qualified to be on the seat meant for members of the Inner Bar only”. Justice Tukur said.

Owuru who was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1982 had in a fresh motion on notice prayed the Court of Appeal to prohibit President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from inaugurating the 2023 President- elect on May 29.

The politician who participated in the 2019 presidential poll on the platform of Hope Democratic Party (HDP) wanted Buhari, AGF and INEC be stopped from taking any further steps on the 2023 presidential election that produced Tinubu as winner.

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 tenure as required by law.

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

In his motion on notice marked CA/CV/259/2023, Owuru applied for “An order of prohibitory injunction compelling Buhari, AGF and INEC, their servants, agents and privies to preserve and give due cognizance and abstain from any further undertaking or engaging in any act of usurpation of adjudged acquired Constitutional rights and mandate as winner of the 2019 presidential election.

He also applied for another order directing and placing on notice that any form of handover inauguration, organized and Superintended by Buhari on 29th May 2023 outside his adjudged winner of the 2019 presidential election, subject of the pending appeal remains and is viewed as an “interim place holder” administration arranged pending the hearing and determination of his substantive appeal on constitutional interpretation thereof.

Listed as respondents in the motion on notice are President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 3rd respectfully before Tinubu joined as 4th respondent