By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) has dismissed the suit instituted by Hope Democratic Party (HDP), seeking to stop the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, come May 29.
The four-man panel of the tribunal, lead by Joseph Ikyechi, in its ruling the dismissed the application for lacking merit.
The party and its presidential candidate, Ambrose Oworu, in the suit, insisted that it will be unfair and unjust to inaugurate Buhari on the ground that validity of the election that produced him has been raised at the Tribunal.
They stressed that unless Buhari is stopped from been inaugurated, he will impose a state of hopelessness on the Tribunal.
In a motion on notice filed on May 9, 2019, the plaintiffs prayed for an order of the Tribunal to stop the President from presenting himself for inauguration on May 29 or any other date until all petitions challenging his election have been settled.
The plaintiffs also prayed for another order stopping the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad from inaugurating or administering oath of office and oath of allegiance on Buhari until all court actions against him are determined.
The party premised their motion on Section 1, 6, 139, 239 of the 1999 constitution and Section 26 and 138 of the Electoral Act 2010.
HDP in its argument averred that, “A restraining order by this court is appropriate to preserve the subject matter of this petition and prevent the first respondent foisting a fiat and state of helplessness on the court and render the petition nugatory,” the motion had read.
“The law is settled that once the question of the validity of election of any person is challenged as to whether he is validly elected or not, the person is not competent to take office or assume the seat of power until the matter is dealt with.”
Respondents in the suit, which include Mr Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), faulted the application and asked the tribunal to dismiss it for lacking merit.
In their arguments, counsel to President Buhari, Wole Olanipekun SAN, as well as counsel to INEC, Ustaz Usman, and the counsel for APC, Akin Olujimi, all urged the tribunal to dismiss the application for being incompetent.