President Bola Tinubu is currently facing another legal battle in the Supreme Court over the 2023 presidential election as he has been accused of unlawfully presenting himself for inauguration as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria despite pending legal action against the conduct of the poll.
Chief Albert Ambrose Owuru, a presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, has invoked the doctrine of Lis Pendens and is seeking the nullification of Tinubu’s inauguration as the winner of the 2023 presidential poll.
Owuru, a Constitutional lawyer, contends that the election that produced Tinubu was an exercise in futility and illegal self-help given his pending 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 argues that Tinubu’s declaration as President by INEC is an affront to the Supreme Court and the established law by reason of lis pendens. He asserts that since Tinubu is a party in the pending suit before the Apex Court, he should not have presented himself for inauguration in respect of any presidential poll.
Owuru contested the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the 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 Tinubu from further operating the Federation Account pending the determination and resolution of the constitutional questions again the 2023 election.
Owuru, alongside a civil group, Hope Africa Foundation, has issued a statement contending that Tinubu’s claim to the office of the President is affected by reason of his being Lis Pendens.
They argue 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.
Owuru predicts that his grievance against the inauguration of Tinubu or anybody else as successor to Buhari is based 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.
The legal battle has seen previous dismissals in lower courts and has now reached the Supreme Court, raising questions about the outcome of the 2023 presidential election and the legitimacy of Tinubu’s inauguration.