A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday dismissed a suit by a former presidential candidate of Hope Democratic Party, Chief Ambrose Owuru, against the election of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in 2019.
The suit seeking Buhari’s sacking was thrown out by Justice Inyang Ekwo on three grounds.
The three grounds are that the suit constituted a gross abuse of the court process; was statute barred and was an affront to the Supreme Court.
Owuru, had, in the suit, applied for an order of the court to declare the presidential seat vacant and inaugurate him as the authentic winner of the 2019 election.
Apart from Buhari named as the first defendant, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the Independent National Electoral Commission were listed as second and third defendants respectfully in the suit with reference number FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021.
Owuru had dragged Buhari to court asking for an order to declare the presidency vacant on the ground that the President was not the winner of the February 16, 2019, presidential election.
In the suit he instituted on June 16, 2021, Owuru had claimed that INEC had no constitutional power to have shifted the election earlier fixed for February 16, 2019, to February 23, adding that Buhari, being a product of unlawful election of February 23 cannot lawfully govern the country.
The main ground of his case was that since his suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court in 2019 was inconclusive due to errors on the adjourned date, he should be declared the winner of the presidential election.
The plaintiff had further applied for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Buhari, AGF and INEC from further organising and conducting any presidential election in 2023 to enable him to complete his four-year term when inaugurated.
However in his judgment, Justice Ekwo faulted the way Owuru coined his originating summons, adding that it took time before he could make sense of the suit.
The judge held that while the cause of action arose on February 23, 2019, the plaintiff filed his suit on June 18, 2021.
“I have carefully studied the four questions formulated by the plaintiff for determination. Unfortunately, Section 285 of the 1999 constitution cannot be of any help to him. The section has knocked off the foundation of the plaintiff’s suit and has become statute-barred,” the judge held.
Besides, Justice Ekwo said Owuru’s claim that INEC has no power to shift the election date has no force of law.
The judge, on another point, held that the request by Owuru for the Federal High Court to review the decision of the Supreme Court in his petition against Buhari was despicable, adding that it was an aberration for a High Court to review the decision of the Apex Court in the country.