Court to delivers judgment seeking cancellation of 2023 election

Court to delivers judgment seeking cancellation of 2023 election

A Federal High Court in Abuja will on Monday (today) deliver judgment on a request seeking to stop the conduct of the forthcoming presidential election scheduled for February 25.

The court will also decide whether to sack the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over alleged illegalities in the 2019 presidential election.

The judgment billed to be delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo is based on a suit filed by the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party in the 2019 election, Chief Ambrose Owuru.

Owuru had instituted legal action against Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission, asking the court to declare him the winner of the election.

A notice for the judgment delivery sighted on Friday by journalists at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja indicated that the verdict would be delivered by 9am by Justice Ekwo.

The notice was served on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The PUNCH reported that the Rivers State-born presidential candidate had asked the court to declare him the winner of the 2019 presidential election.

Among other reliefs, he had asked the court to determine the legality or otherwise of the decision by INEC in 2019, during which it postponed the election from February 16 to March 23.

He claimed that INEC acted against the constitution by postponing the election and that Buhari’s declaration as the winner of the unlawful act should be declared null and void and of no effect.

The ground of his claim was predicated on the fact that the petition he lodged against Buhari had not been adjudicated upon by the Supreme Court as required by law.

The politician claimed that his petition at the Supreme Court was unjustly dismissed following his absence at the Apex Court due to discrepancies in the hearing dates conveyed to him.

He, therefore, prayed for the court to remove Buhari and declare him (Owuru) the authentic president, and that Buhari should be compelled to refund all monies he collected as salaries, emoluments, and security votes.

The HDP presidential candidate also asked the court to order his inauguration for a four-year tenure of office upon the removal of Buhari from office and that the Federal High Court should stop INEC from conducting the forthcoming presidential election.

While claiming that his tenure had been usurped by Buhari, the plaintiff prayed that the court should compel Buhari to refund all monies he collected as salaries, emoluments, and security votes.

On November 4, last year, Justice Ekwo set January 30 as the judgment date, following the adoption of final addresses by Buhari, the AGF, INEC, and the plaintiff.

Commenting on the suit, a constitutional lawyer, Dr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “ “Even if Owuru wins, the judgment will merely be pyrrhic as Buhari is already on his way out on May 29 by effusion of time. It has become a mere academic exercise.”

Another SAN, Kunle Adegoke, said, “It is doubtful if the case is a pre-election matter governed by Section 285 of the constitution and it is certain that is not an election petition.

“Where the case does not qualify either as a pre-election matter, the Federal High Court has no duty to decide same within 180 days. If it is claimed to be an election petition, the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to decide an election petition not to talk of deciding it within 180 days.”

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