By uzoukwuchidiadimiracle • 9 days ago • 97 views • 14 comments

ABUJA- Dispute over the outcome of the February 23

presidential election assumed a new dimension on Tuesday,

as the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, applied for a court

order to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from being

sworn-in for a second term on May 29.

President Muhammadu Buhari

The party and its presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose

Owuru, in a fresh motion, asked the Presidential Election

Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, to restrain the Acting

Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad,

from administering any oath on President Buhari at the

expiration of his current term, pending the determination of

the petition challenging his re-election.

The petitioners further applied for an order of the tribunal to

restrain President Buhari from presenting himself to be

sworn-in, until “the question as to whether he has been

validly elected”, is determined.

The motion was predicated on section 1(2), 6(6), 139, 239

of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as on

sections 26(4) (5), 138(1) (b) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as


Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were

President Buhari, the Independent National Electoral

Commission, INEC, and the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Specifically, two principal prayers in the motion on notice

dated May 9, read: “An order of this honourable court

restraining the 1st respondent herein from presenting

himself on May 29, 2019 or any other date for swearing in

or inauguration ceremony or taking the oath of allegiance or

office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

pending the determination of this Petition and the question

as to whether he has been validly elected as challenged

and pending before the court”.

As well as, “An order of this honourable court restraining

the Chief Justice of Nigeria or any other Justice in that

stead from swearing in, administering the oath of allegiance

and oath of office or participating in the inauguration

ceremony on May 29, 209 or any other date to swear in the

1st respondent, s the President of the Federal Republic of

Nigeria pending the determination of this petition contesting

the validity of the substituted and questioned presidential

election of February 23, 2019.”

Enumerating grounds upon which they filed the motion, the

HPD and its candidate who secured a total of 1,663 in the

presidential election, contended that it would be legally

inappropriate to allow President Buhari to assume office on

the basis of an election that he did not validly win.

According to the petitioners, “A restraining order by this

court is appropriate to preserve the subject matter of this

petition and prevent the 1st Respondent from foisting a fiat

accompli and state of hopelessness on the court and render

the election petition before the court nurgatory.

“The law is settled that once the question of the validity of

Election of any person is challenged as to whether he is

validly Elected or not, the person is not competent to take

office or assume the seat of power. See section 139 and

239 of the 1999 constitution, Nwobodo Vs. Onoh (1981),1

Sc p.97, and also Collins Obih V Sam Mbakwe (1984)

1SCNLR 192, 202 and 203.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

prohibits and forbids that Nigeria or any part thereof be

governed or taken over by any person or group of persons

except in accordance with the provisions of the

constitution. See section 1(2) of the 1999 constitution, as


The petitioners, through their lawyer, Mr. Oliver Eya, noted

that pleadings have been concluded between parties in the

petition they lodged against the presidential election fixed

for pre-trial hearing session.

“Inspite of the pendency and scheduled hearing of this

petition over the invalidity of the questioned substituted

Presidential Election and return of the 1st Respondent of

February 23, 2019, for reason of non-compliance and

violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010, the 1st

Respondent is frantically making preparation to be sworn in

and inaugurated on the 29th of May 2019, inviting the Chief

Justice of Nigeria and the public”, the petitioners added.

In a 21-paragraphed affidavit that was deposed to by one

Anwal Abdullahi, the petitioners insisted that the February

23 presidential poll was invalid for reason of non-

compliance with and violation of the Electoral Act involving

the undue postponement of election from February 16 that

it was previously slated for.

The petitioners alleged that INEC “self-sabotaged” itself

and shifted the election, thereby, “giving way for the

people’s controlled affirmative Referendum Election

validating the 1st Petitioner endorsed 50 million majority

votes threat”.

They told the tribunal that President Buhari has continued

to make hasty preparations to be sworn in for a second

term, regardless of the unresolved question of the invalidity

of the election and return at the questioned substituted

election of February 23.

“The Petitioner/Applicants case remains that the 1st

Respondent could not have been declared and returned as

Elected and cannot be validly Elected or Returned in the

circumstances of an undue postponed Election and non-

compliance and violation with the provisions of the

Electoral Act and the 1999 constitution of the Federal

Republic of Nigeria.

“That if the 1st Respondent is sworn in on May 29, 2019,

he will take control of government of Nigeria and commence

to act as President, to the prejudice of the Petitioners/

Applicants and foist a fiat accompli on the court and render

nugatory its proceeding and outcome and unduly influence

the polity and undermine the authority of this honourable


“That the 1st Respondent will suffer no prejudice, damage

or irreparable loss if he is not sworn in until the conclusion

of the petition before this honourable court.

“That no amount of damages can compensate the

Petitioners/Applicants and the poor majority constituents

desirous of the validation of their affirmative Referendum as

held on the February 16th, 2019, scheduled Presidential

Election for a welfare state, to end poverty in the land in a

transitional government arrangement thereof.

“That the end of justice will be served in preserving the

status quo by restraining the 1st Respondent and

preventing the wastages and dangers in swearing in a

person whose election will be annulled”, the petitioners


Meantime, President Buhari, the APC and the INEC,

persuaded the five-member tribunal headed by President of

the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, for a short

adjournment to enable them to respond to all the issues

that were raised in the motion.

Before the matter was adjourned till May 22, President

Buhari, through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun,

SAN, told the tribunal that he has filed a motion for the

HDP’s petition marked CA/ PEPC/001/2019, to be

dismissed for being grossly incompetent.

Olanipekun noted that the petitioners focused their case on

a referendum they claimed INEC conducted on February 23.

He said so far as his client was concerned, what held on

that date was a presidential election and not a referendum.

Meanwhile, when the matter was called up, the pioneer

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes

Commission, EFCC, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, indicated that he was

in court to represent President Buhari in the gallery.

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