Opposition party loses in petition to stop Buhari’s inauguration

The aggrieved party had urged the tribunal to stop Buhari from being inaugurated for a second term.

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to be inaugurated for a second term after INEC declared him winner of the 2019 presidential election [AFP]
President Muhammadu Buhari is set to be inaugurated for a second term after INEC declared him winner of the 2019 presidential election [AFP]

The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed a petition filed by the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) seeking to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from being sworn in for a second term on May 29, 2019.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Buhari winner of the February 23 presidential election with a total of 15,191,847 votes.

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However, the HDP and its presidential candidate, Ambrose Oworu, filed a petition before the tribunal to nullify the election on the grounds of INEC’s non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act. 

While delivering judgement on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the three-member panel of the tribunal ruled that the petitioners’ application lacked merit and dismissed it.

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The petitioners had argued that Buhari’s apparent plans to get himself inaugurated for a second term despite the pending case would render its petition meaningless.

The motion, filed on six grounds, further sought to restrain the Chief Justice of Nigeria from swearing in, administering the oath of office and oath of allegiance to the president.

The party argued that, according to the law, once a question of the validity of an election of any person is challenged, that person is not competent to take oath of office or assume power.

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The petitioners urged the court to halt Buhari’s inauguration until the hearing and determination of their petition.

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There are two other petitions before the tribunal contesting Buhari’s victory in the February 23 election.

The National Rescue Movement (NRM) and its presidential candidate, Usman Ibrahim-Alhaji, have asked the tribunal to nullify Buhari’s participation in the election for allegedly violating the Electoral Act by spending over N1 billion as campaign expenses.

The aggrieved parties also sought the disqualification of Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the same offence.

Atiku and the PDP also have a separate petition filed before the tribunal against Buhari’s victory.

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