The Supreme Court has struck out the suit seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election over alleged perjury.
The suit was filed by Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris, all legal practitioners. Delivering judgment, the Justice Mary Odili-led panel of five justices held that the case was statute barred and therefore dismissed.
The justices during the introduction of appearances wondered why Abdullahi Abubakar, State Counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice will be representing a private individual. Abubakar had announced his appearance for the first respondent (General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) in the suit. They warned him to desist from such act of using public office to defend a private litigation.
Muhammad Dattijo, while addressing the counsel sited the President Bill Clinton’s numerous private cases while in the office. “Clinton in his numerous private litigation, he never used government organs but rather personally sponsored all his private cases”. He warned that his actions contravene the Code of Conduct for public servants, which have consequences.
Odili in her judgment said: “The court notes the inappropriate appearance of Mr Abdullahi Abubakar state counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice, representing the first respondent Gen. Muhammad Buhari Rtd in his personal capacity. This practice must be discouraged, appeal haven been withdrawn is hereby dismissed,” Odili said.
The appellants specifically wanted Buhari’s nomination and subsequent victory at the February 23 presidential election nullified on the grounds that President Buhari lied on oath in his form 001 that he submitted to INEC for the purpose of clearance for the presidential election.
They asked the apex court for an Order to set aside the judgment of the court of appeal and hear the matter on merit and grant the reliefs sought in the Originating Summons.