2023 Poll: Supreme Court Throws Out Lawsuit Against Tinubu

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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.

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

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

However, 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.

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

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.

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

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