January 31, 2023

Court declines to sack Buhari, says suit frivolous

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday dismissed a suit that sought the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari from office.

The court, in a judgement delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the suit, which was brought before it by a former presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru, lacked merit.

Describing the legal action as baseless, frivolous, irritating and vexatious, Justice Ekwo held that it was not only statute barred, but also constitued a gross abuse of the judicial process.

The court further held that the suit was an affront on the supremacy of the Supreme Court which had earlier dismissed a similar request by the plaintiff.

Owuru, who was the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, had approached the court, praying it to sack President Buhari from office, insisting that the election through which he won his re-election in 2019, was fraught with manifest irregularities.

The plaintiff urged the court to declare that he was the authentic person that ought to have been sworn in as President instead of Buhari who contested the said election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Among other things, he contended that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, assisted President Buhari to manipulate the outcome of the election against him by shifting the earlier date it fixed for the poll.

He specifically prayed the court to determine the legality or otherwise of INEC’s decision to postpone the election date from February 16 to March 23, 2019.

According to the plaintiff, INEC acted against the Constitution in the illegal and unlawful ways and manners the presidential poll was shifted, maintaining that the declaration of President Buhari as winner of the unlawful act should be declared null and void and of no effect.

Owuru, who is a British-trained lawyer that was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1984, told the court that prior to the postponment of the election, he emerged the winner of a referendum he said was conducted and monitored by both foreign and local organizations.

In his judgement on Monday, Justice Ekwo dismissed the suit for being frivolous.