The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has ordered Ambrose Owuru, the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2019 election, to pay a fine of N40 million for filing a frivolous suit to stop the inauguration of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Justice Jamil Tukur, who read the lead judgment of a three-member panel of the court, held that Owuru committed a gross abuse of court process by filing a frivolous, vexatious and irritating suit to provoke the respondents.
Owuru, whose party had been deregistered by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), filed the suit in April, challenging the outcome of the 2019 election.
He asked the court to declare the president’s seat vacant and swear him in as the authentic winner.
In the suit, Owuru also urged the appellate court to prohibit President Muhammadu Buhari, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and INEC from going ahead with Tinubu’s inauguration.
He argued that he was the winner of the 2019 presidential election and had not spent his tenure.
Owuru, who is also a lawyer, maintained that Buhari has been usurping his tenure of office since 2019 because the Supreme Court has not determined his petition challenging the election’s outcome.
However, in its judgement on Thursday, the appellate court held that Owuru’s grievances against the 2019 presidential election were not only strange, but uncalled for because they had been pursued up to the Supreme Court and were dismissed for want of merit.
The Appeal Court held that Owuru’s bid to resuscitate the case that died in 2019 was aimed at making the lower courts go on a collision course with the supremacy of the apex court.
The court ordered the appellant to pay N10 million each to Buhari, Malami, INEC and Tinubu, the first to fourth defendants in the suit.