Â High Court of Lagos State, Lagos Judicial Division
Â Judge: Dolapo F. Akinsanya
Suit No: M/573/93
November 10, 1993
Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe Applicants
National Electoral Commission, Attorney-General of the Federation – Respondents.
Counsel: Prof. A. B. Kasunmu, (SAN) for the Plaintiffs and with him are Senator A. Adesanya, Chief Oladipo Jimileyin, Otunba O. Durojaiye, Miss A. Sanusi and Mr. O. Suban. Â
Mr. Jerry Okolo (SAN) with him, Mr. Sanusi Kado, Legal Officer and Mr. H. Garba, Legal Officer for the Respondents
Â In an Originating Summons dated 14th day of October, 1993, theÂ Plaintiffs/Applicants sought the following reliefs against the Respondents:Â A Declaration that Decree No. 61 signed on 26th August, 1993 by General 1. B. Babangida as President and published in the Federal Government Gazette of 23rd August, 1993 is invalid, illegal, null and void in that General Babangida having announced on 17th August, 1993 that he was stepping aside as President on 26th August, 1993 and having in fact stepped aside as President on 26th August, 1993 cannot exercise any executive or legislative authority after 25th August, 1993 having regard to the provisions of Section 15 of the Interpretation Act, Cap 192, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.Â
In the alternative, a Declaration that the provisions of Section 1 of Decree No. 59 of 1993 extinguished the competence of General 1. B. Babangida to promulgate Decree No. 61 of 1993 otherwise known as Interim Government (Basic Constitutional Provisions) Decree and consequently same is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.Â
Â In the further alternative, a declaration that Decree No. 61 of 1993 does not vest any person with the power to appoint Chief Ernest Shonekan or anybody as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and to that extent the purported appointment of Chief Ernest Shonekan under the said Decree is illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.Â
A Declaration that all the persons appointed as Secretaries on 26th August, 1993 and sworn in by Chief Ernest Shonekan were not validly appointed as they were not appointed by the person vested with authority so to do under the provisions of Decree No. 61 of 1993.Â
An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining Chief Ernest Shonekan and any other person appointed in whatever capacity as members of the Interim National Government from exercising any executive powers or any powers at all of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Â
A Declaration that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1989 came into force on the 26th or alternatively on the 27th of August 1993. A Declaration that only a person duly elected as President pursuant to the Presidential election held in accordance with the provisions of the Transition to Civil Rule (Political Programme) Act Cap, 443 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, can lawfully exercise the executive powers of the Federation under the aforementioned 1989 Constitution.Â
A Declaration that the purported annulment of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election midstream is illegal, null and void and of no effect because it was not done in accordance with due process.Â
An Order directing the 1 sl Respondent to announce the outstanding States results ofthe June 12 1993 Presidential (sic) (Election) and declare the winner of the said election.Â
An Order directing that the winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election as declared by the 1 sl Respondent be sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Â
An Order directing the Chief Justice of the Federation forthwith to swear in whoever is declared/announced as the winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election by the 1 sl Respondent in accordance with the provisions of the 1989 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
And for such order or further orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.
In the Affidavit of 26 paragraphs filed in support of the Summons, the 1stÂ Applicant, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola averred that he was the Presidential candidate sponsored by the Social Democratic Party at the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election to the office of the President while the 2nd Plaintiff was his running mate and Vice Presidential candidate at the said Election.
The Deponent then recounted the advent of the erstwhile Military Government when in December 1983, the Federal Military Government headed by General Moharnmadu Buhari toppled the duly elected Civilian Government of President Shehu Shagari, and that in August 1985, General Ibrahim Babangida displaced the Buhari Administration and took over the Governance of this country. Some changes were made in the organic laws of the country whereby some ofthe provisions of the 1979
Constitution were suspended and the operative laws as from 3151 December 1993 are as set out in Cap 64 of the revised Laws of the Federation 1990.
The 1st Plaintiff/Applicant further averred that in July 1987 the Babangida Administration promulgated the Transition to Civil Rule (Political Programme) Decree now reprinted as Cap 443 ofthe 1990 Laws of the Federation setting out programme for the disengagement of the Armed Forces from the running of the affairs of the Country and it was towards this goal that the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election was held in accordance with the provisions for the Presidn ential Election (Basic Constitutional and Transitional Provision) Decree No. 13 of 1993.
The 1st Plaintiff then explained the procedure adopted at the said electionÂ and the collation of votes but before the winner of the said election was announced, the Federal Military Government purported to suspend the National Electoral Commission while the President and the Vice President Augustus Aikhomu gave different and unrelated reasons for taking such a step in canceling the June 12, 1993 Election. He also averred that as part of the programme for transition to Civil Rule, the Babangida Administration enacted the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Decree 1989 commencement date of which has been amended by various other legislation, theÂ latest Decree relevant to this exercise being Decree 56 of 1992 which gave the commencement date as 27th August, 1993.
It was further averred that after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election the Babangida Administration set up an Interim National Government to, govern the country after 27th August, 1993 and that in furtherance of that decision, the Babangida Administration enacted the following Decrees amongst others on the 26th of August, 1993:Â d) Decree 58 of 1993 – Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Suspension) Decree 1993.