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May 29 Inauguration at Risk as Federal Court Considers Perjury Suit Against Tinubu

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Amid the buzz surrounding the anticipated inauguration of Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu, the country’s legal landscape was rocked today, Tuesday, May 23, 2023 by two contentious lawsuits set to challenge the validity of his election and the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The first suit, set to be heard today in the Federal High Court of Abuja, seeks to halt Tinubu’s inauguration, alleging that the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate lied under oath regarding his possession of a Guinean Passport.

This case, brought forth by three concerned Nigerians – Praise Ilemona Isaiah, Pastor Paul Isaac Ausu, and Dr Anongu Moses – maintains that this deception renders Tinubu unfit for the presidency.

Isaiah, one of the plaintiffs, stated, “We’re asking the court to defend the integrity of our electoral process. A person who misleads the public and the authorities cannot be allowed to lead our country.”

The lawsuit targets not just Tinubu but also the APC, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Director-General of the Department of State Service, the Inspector General of Police, and INEC.

The second lawsuit focuses on the INEC’s handling of the presidential election held on February 25, 2023.

In a separate Federal High Court, the Govindex Leadership, Empowerment, and Development Foundation and six other Nigerians are arguing that INEC violated electoral laws during the presidential election.

They are demanding criminal prosecution for the INEC officials responsible for the perceived compromises.

A representative of Govindex Foundation said, “Our demand is clear: the integrity of our elections is sacrosanct. We want a transparent system that aligns with our constitution and electoral act.”

The defendants are the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, All Progressives Congress, Attorney-General of the Federation, Director-General of the Department of State Service, Inspector General of Police, and Independent National Electoral Commission.

The concerned Nigerians are seeking an order of the court to nullify Tinubu’s candidacy in the February 25 presidential election.

They are also seeking an order restraining President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from swearing-in Tinubu.

The litigants are making the following demands:

“A DECLARATION that the deliberate, wilful and false information deposed to by the 2nd defendant in FORM EC9 of the 7th defendant wherein he stated that he is a not a citizen of another country apart from Nigeria, contrary to the fact that he is also a citizen of The Republic of Guinea, is a criminal offense capable of preventing the 2nd defendant from being sworn in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court nullifying the candidacy of the 2nd defendant as fielded by the 3rd defendant as its political party flag bearer for the presidential election of the 25th of February 2023.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court restraining the 1st defendant from allowing the swearing in of the 2nd defendant as President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and directing the 1st defendant to ensure by all the powers within his disposal that the 2nd defendant is not sworn in, into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for wilfully, deceptively and deliberately misleading the 7th defendant and telling lies on oath.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court directing the 4th, 5th and 6th defendants to ensure that the 2nd defendant is detained, and prevented from being sworn in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pending the determination of the Presidential election Petition before the Court of Appeal to determine the rightful winner of the 25th February, 2023 election conducted by the 7th defendant.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court directing the 3rd defendant to dismiss the 2nd defendant from the party for deliberately telling lies and falsely stating .in the form EC9 of the 7th defendant that he is only a Nigerian citizen contrary to the prevailing and available facts that he possesses citizenship of the Republic of Guinea.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court to the 7th defendant to nullify and disqualify the candidacy of the 2nd defendant for wilfully and knowingly telling lies on oath, to the 7th defendant in the form EC9 of the 7th defendant which is against the sacrosanct condition precedent for being allowed as a candidate to contest the Presidential election of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court directing the 2nd defendant to stop holding out himself as the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, since he was ineligible and his nomination as the Presidential Candidate of the 3rd defendant a nullity owing to the deliberate false declaration, he made in the form EC9 of the 7th defendant before the Presidential election which held on the 25th of February 2023.

“AN ORDER of this honourable court restraining and barring the 2nd defendant from contesting any other election in the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the next 10 years for deliberately telling lies and give false information on oath, in the form EC9 of the 7th defendant.

In the other suit, a group of Nigerians led by Govindex Leadership, Empowerment and Development Foundation have sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its failure to comply with Section 160(I) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) and Sections 60(5) and 148 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

Govindex and six other Nigerians, in the suit filed before the Federal High Court Abuja are demanding the criminal prosecution of INEC officials who compromised the integrity of the Saturday, February 25, 2023, Presidential election.

The group is demanding five reliefs, two of which are:

A DECLARATION that having regards to the provisions of the Section 160(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(As Amended), Sections 60(5) & 148 of the Electoral Act, 2022, paragraph (Clauses) 38 (i), (ii) & (iii) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022, the Defendant through her presiding officers are mandatorily required to electronically transmit, transfer or upload the scanned copy of Form EC8A result of the polling units directly to the collation system as prescribed by the Commission, that is, the usage of Bimodial Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) or such other relevant technology to upload the result into the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately and in real-time after completion of the polling units voting and Results procedures but before taking the results to the ward collation Centre from the polling units.

AN ORDER OF THE COURT MANDATING the Defendant to compile names of the Presiding Officers, whether ad-hoc or permanent, who failed to upload or electronically transmit or transfer the Election results of the polling units directly to the collation system as prescribed by the Commission, that is the Bimodial Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and send the said list to office of Inspector-General of Police for investigation and prosecution within 14 days of making the Order or such time as the Court may Order.

While the political impact of these cases remains to be seen, they highlight an ongoing struggle in Nigeria’s political landscape. As citizens demand transparency and integrity from their leaders, the path to Tinubu’s presidency appears less clear than ever before.

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