Tinubu faces another legal battle in Supreme Court over 2023 presidential poll

Aliya Moses
8 Min Read

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been dragged before the Supreme Court for allegedly unlawfully presenting himself for inauguration as President, despite a pending legal action against the conduct of the 2023 presidential poll.

Citing the doctrine of Lis Pendens, a presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Chief Albert Ambrose Owuru is
asking the Apex Court to nullify the inauguration of Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 presidential poll.

Owuru, a Constitutional lawyer, contends that the presidential election which produced Tinubu was an exercise in futility and illegal self-help given his yet-to-be-determined suit against Tinubu and others at the Supreme Court.

The pending Supreme Court suit 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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Owuru is arguing 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 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 against the declaration of Buhari by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

His suit seeking an order of Court to declare him as the adjudged and constitutional winner of the 2019 election and currently pending before the Supreme Court was on May 18 this year, voluntarily joined by Tinubu as an interested party.

In a fresh motion on notice served on Tinubu through the Chambers of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, the ex-presidential candidate is also praying to 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 again the 2023 election.

In a statement he issued in Abuja alongside a civil group, Hope Africa Foundation in respect of the suit, Owuru contended that since Tinubu had become aware of the suit and had voluntarily joined as an interested party after fierce arguments of his lawyers, he had breached the doctrine of liz pendis and his purported inauguration liable to dismissal.

The statement signed by Anwal Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of Africa Hope Foundation read in part “We want to place on record that Tinubu’s claim to the office of the President is affected by reason of his being Lis Pendens.

“This is so because having joined the pending suit on the subject of mandate usurpation by Buhari, nothing ought to have been done until the final resolutions of disputed issues.

There is no doubt that the present act of self-help and claim to occupy the office of the president by any of the parties in this action is an act of self-help and violates the law and the doctrine of Lis Pendens which is to the effect that nothing should be done by parties to change or affect the subject matter before the court so as not to prejudice the existing adjudged acquired constitutional rights and mandate of Chief Owuru as the adjudged constitutional winner of the 2019 presidential election.

It is on record that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in recognition of the doctrine of Lis Pendens and the existing suits on the issue of usurpation of mandate between Owuru and Buhari, joined the ongoing proceedings then in Court of Appeal on the 18th of May 2023 before his purported inauguration over the 2023 presidential electoral debacle.

” He is bound to await the outcome of the proceedings in the already existing issue of usurpation of constitutional mandate and entitlement to serve out the same by Owuru.

The implication of this, by law is that the 2023 presidential election and its outcome which Tinubu was aware of before joining the suit, is subsumed and dependent on the outcome of the existing legal proceedings on the subject of the already adjudged and yet to be served constitutional mandate of Owuru to serve out the term of office of the President of Nigeria as required by law.

Our laws in this regard concerning the doctrine of Lis pendens has been well affirmed by the Supreme Court in the case of Peter Obi vs Ngige (Supra) as parties are to maintain and strictly observe the fact of the existence of pending suits and efficacy and potency of undermining the court’s jurisdiction and engaging in act of self-help and a brazen usurpation of candidate, parties mandate, subject matter in the pending case.

“There is no doubt that this act of the present All Progressives Congress (APC) led central government in practical terms are clear acts actof usurpation.

As law-abiding citizens, we urge that Nigerians exercise patience in the due and early resolution of these outstanding issues to know who truly is the authentic Nigerian President.

Owuru who claimed to be adjudged Constitutional winner of the 2019 presidential election predicted his grouse against the 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.

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Among others, Owuru had insisted then that Buhari was 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.

His first suit was 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 part on May 25 in a judgment by Justice Jamil Tukur who led a 3-man panel had refused to stop the May 29 inauguration of Tinubu.

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

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