The Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, John Terhemba Tsoho has reportedly barred judges from entertaining cases bordering on the presidential election or the forthcoming swearing-in/inauguration ceremony.
This is perhaps to ensure that nothing stops the inauguration of the ‘President-elect’ Bola Tinubu as the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It was gathered that the Chief Judge also directed that such cases pending in courts should be transferred to Abuja for review.
A litigant, Mr Abduyusuf Rufa’i who confirmed the development said that he was at the Federal High Court, Enugu on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in respect to his lawsuit numbered FHC/EN/CS/77 between Mr Abdu Yusuf Rufai and the Attorney-General of the Federation, which seeks the court’s interpretation of Section 134 of the Nigerian Constitution.
Rufai said a senior court official told him that there was an order from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria that no judge in Nigeria should hear any suit on presidential election or swearing-in.
“This is a travesty of justice from the judiciary and an abuse of constitutional powers calculated to kill the substance of my case and dodge May 29. My lawsuit was immediately transferred to Abuja,” he said.
In a text message, titled: “UBI JUS, UBI REMEDIUM! “Where there is a Law/Right, there is the Remedy”, Rufai said, “Fellow citizens, owing to my complaint of the breach of my fundamental rights and freedoms, and in furtherance or enhancement of my inalienable rights, ditto for millions of Nigerians, I have approached the Federal High Court for its intervention; and amongst the reliefs I sought, I asked the honourable Court to interpret and give a simple understanding and intendment of Section 134 of the Nigerian Constitution which is our grundnorm and supreme document in the land.
“I have also asked the honourable Court to use its inherent power to stop the swearing-in or inauguration of any purported President on May 29th 2023 not duly elected because of not meeting constitutional requirements or because of violating constitutional provisions and its inviolability in the last Presidential Election.
“I have also asked the honourable Court not to allow unconstitutionality or illegality of any sort to stand but to defend Rule of Law, uphold our Constitution, promote Stability, protect our Democracy and render Justice to the satisfaction of man and our Creator.”
Meanwhile, a covering letter of transfer of his case to Abuja, dated May 24, 2023, and obtained by SaharaReporters, was addressed to Deputy Chief Registrar, Litigation Federal High Court Abuja.
It was signed by Deputy Chief Registrar, Ekperobe Femi Ohi, Esq.
Titled: “Transfer of Case File: Suit No FHC/EN/CS/77 Between Mr Abdu Yusuf Rufai and the Attorney-General of the Federation”, the letter reads: “Pursuant to the circular by his lordship, The Chief judge of the Federal High Court on case bordering on Presidential election and or/the forthcoming swearing in/inauguration ceremony.
“I have been directed by his Lordship Hon Justice M. G. Umar To forward the above referred case file to your office for the attention of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for further necessary action.”
In the suit which commenced by way of Originating Summons, brought pursuant to Order 3 Rules 6, 7 And 9 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the honourable court, the applicant, (Mr Abduyusuf Rufa’i) formulated one question for the determination of the court.
“WHETHER Section 134 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended stipulates that whoever wins the Presidential Election majority votes must; in addition to having not less than 25% votes in each of at least two-thirds of the 36 states of Nigeria, and must win at least 25% of the FCT, Abuja votes to emerge the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The applicant further sought the following five reliefs:
“A declaration that Section 134 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended provides for a mandatory win of at least 25% of the FCT, Abuja votes before a candidate of any political party in Nigeria must be declared the winner duly elected of a Presidential Election in Nigeria.
“A declaration that the purported President-Elect Mr. Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the result as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not meet the mandatory provisions of Section 134 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended to be declared duly elected and cannot be sworn in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“A declaration that subject to the provisions of section 135 (1) (a) of the CFRN 1999 as amended which states that “a person shall hold the office of President UNTIL when his successor in office takes Oath of that office” that the incumbent President (Gen. Muhammad Buhari) despite exhausting his eight years tenure shall still hold office as President UNTIL his successor takes the Oath of that office as swearing in or inauguration of a new President on May 29 is not sacrosanct or absolute.
“A declaration that by the provisions of section 1 (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended which provides strictly that any person or group of persons that want to take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, must do so in accordance or in consonance with the provisions of this constitution.
“An order of Interlocutory Injunction restraining the Federal Government of Nigeria, her agents, servants or privies from organising, planning or holding any Presidential inauguration or swearing in or handover on the 29th day of May 2023 pending the determination of the Presidential Election Petitions in the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal or at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”