A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by three individuals seeking to stop the May 29 inauguration of the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The plaintiffs had claimed that Tinubu supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about his age and citizenship status.
They alleged that Tinubu lied on oath in his form EC9 that he was not a citizen of another country despite being in possession of a Guinean passport and also lied on oath about his age.
The trio further alleged that whereas the President-elect claimed that he was born in 1957, it was discovered that 1952 was his actual date of birth, arguing that Tinubu’s action was in gross violation of Section 117 of the Criminal Code Act as well as Section 156 of the Penal Code Act.
They subsequently prayed the court to stop Tinubu’s inauguration on May 29 and also ban Tinubu from vying for any elective position for the next 10 years
Ruling, Justice James Omotosho held that the suit by Praise Ilemona Isaiah, Pastor Paul Isaac Audu and Anongu Moses was frivolous and abuse of court process.
He held that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to file the suit, adding that the court cannot assume jurisdiction over the suit because it relates to a presidential election.
He maintained that 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.
He held that since the election has already been conducted, only the Court of Appeal has the jurisdiction to entertain cases arising from the presidential election.
While accusing the plaintiffs of wasting judicial time of the court by filing the suit which he described as an abuse of court process, Justice Omotosho held that the legal action was in bad faith as it was aimed to expose the judiciary to ridicule.
He also held that the suit, which sought to stop the inauguration that is a few days away, was capable of destabilising the democracy in the country.
The judge then slammed a fine of N15 million on the plaintiffs for filing a “frivolous suit.”
Omotosho awarded a cost of N10 million in Tinubu’s favour, N5 million in favour of the APC and another N1 million to be personally paid by counsel for the plaintiffs, to each of the respondents.
He further threatened to refer the lawyers that helped the plaintiffs to file the suit to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) for instituting an action “capable of dragging the judiciary to the mud.”
The ruling by Justice Omotosho comes barely two hours about after the Supreme Court dismissed another suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to void the candidacy of Tinubu and the vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima.