Tinubu floors Opposition in court over age and Shettima’s case

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Federal High Court Dismisses Suit Seeking to Stop Inauguration of President-elect Tinubu and Vice President-elect ShettimaA suit filed by three individuals aiming to halt the inauguration of President-elect Bola Tinubu and his vice, Kashim Shettima, has been dismissed by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The plaintiffs, identified as Praise Ilemona Isaiah, Pastor Paul Isaac Audu, and Anongu Moses, who referred to themselves as Concerned Citizens, alleged age falsification and citizenship status issues in the documents submitted by Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice James Omotosho delivered the ruling on Friday, declaring the suit frivolous and an abuse of the court process. In the case marked FHC/ABJ/C5/657/2023, the plaintiffs claimed that Tinubu, who was declared the winner of the presidential election held on February 25, provided false information under oath in Form EC9 submitted to INEC, regarding his qualifications to run for the election.

Additionally, they accused Tinubu of falsely declaring that he held no citizenship of any other country, despite possessing a Guinean passport. The trio further contended that Tinubu’s declared birth year of 1957 was inaccurate, asserting that his actual date of birth was 1952. They argued that Tinubu’s actions were in violation of Section 117 of the Criminal Code Act and Section 156 of the Penal Code Act.

In their bid to prevent Tinubu from assuming office, the plaintiffs requested that the court impose a 10-year ban on his eligibility for any elective position. However, Justice Omotosho ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi, or legal standing, to file the suit. He explained that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, as it concerned a presidential election.

According to Justice Omotosho, under section 285 (14) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, only an aspirant could challenge the qualification or nomination of a candidate in an election. As the election had already taken place, he determined that only the Court of Appeal possessed the authority to handle cases arising from the presidential election.

Justice Omotosho criticized the plaintiffs for wasting the court’s time, describing the suit as an abuse of the court process. He accused them of acting in bad faith and aiming to ridicule the judiciary.

Bola Tinubu
Bola Tinubu

Notably, the judge warned that he would refer the lawyers involved in filing the suit to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, as their actions could tarnish the reputation of the judiciary.

Consequently, Justice Omotosho awarded a sum of N10 million in favor of Tinubu, N5 million in favor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and an additional N1 million to be personally paid by the plaintiffs’ counsel to each of the respondents.

The judge further emphasized that the suit, which sought to halt the imminent inauguration, had the potential to destabilize democracy in the country.

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