President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF, Abubakar Malami SAN, on Friday shunned hearing in a suit seeking to prohibit the inauguration of the President-Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on May 29.
Buhari and AGF, who are the first and second respondents in the suit instituted by a former presidential candidate, Chief Ambrose Albert Owuro, did not file any process or have any legal representation at the hearing of the suit at the Court of Appeal Abuja, despite being served with hearing notice.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which conducted the 2019 presidential election and was a subject of dispute, asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss the case of Owuro, who claimed to be adjudged the constitutional winner of the 2019 presidential election.
The electoral body, which is the third respondent in the appeal, described Owuru’s claim to be adjudged the constitutional winner of the 2019 presidential election as frivolous, baseless, irritating and unwarranted.
Represented by a legal practitioner, Hassan Halilu, INEC faulted the claims of Owuru and urged the Court of Appeal to dismiss it with heavy cost on the ground that the suit lacked merit.
On his part, the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who joined the suit as an interested party at the Court of Appeal, argued that the claims of Owuru to the 2019 presidential election were not only strange but also baseless, frivolous and unmeritorious.
Tinubu, through his counsel, Adelani Ajibade from the Chamber of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, told the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal that the purported constitutional rights being claimed and asserted by the former presidential candidate had been extinguished by a Supreme Court judgment which nullified his petition filed against the 2019 presidential election.
The President-elect, whose brief of argument was filed on May 19, demanded outright dismissal of the suit with 20 million naira cost to be paid to the respondents by Owuru and his party, the Hope Democratic Party (HDP).
Meanwhile, Justice Jamil Tukur, who headed the three-man panel of justice in the hearing of the matter, has adjourned judgment indefinitely.
Justice Tukur said that parties in the appeal would be communicated as soon as the judgment is ready.
Before the hearing of the suit. Justice Tukur has ordered Owuru to vacate the seat reserved for only Senior Advocates of Nigeria members of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Justice Tukur, upon sighting Owuru sitting on the reserved seat, challenged him on when he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to which Owuru answered in the negative.
Attempts by Owuro to persuade the court to consider his position as a senior lawyer in the country were rejected by Justice Tukur, who told the former presidential candidate that even if he is as old as Methuselah in the bar, as a lawyer, he is not entitled to be on the seat reserved for senior advocates only.
“Even if you are older than Methuselah in the Nigerian bar, you have no place at the Inner Bar and you are not qualified to be on the seat meant for members of the Inner Bar only,” Justice Tukur said.