The Federal High Court in Abuja has slated Friday for ruling on a suit seeking the disqualification of Nigeriaâ€™s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, as a candidate in the 25 February presidential election.
The suit, by implication, also seeks to stop Mr Tinubu from taking the oath of office on 29 May.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had on Monday fixed Friday for judgement in a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party challenging Mr Tinubuâ€™s victory on account of the alleged double nomination of Kashim Shettima as his vice-presidential pick and as a senatorial candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The case at the Supreme Court is different from PDPâ€™s petition challenging Mr Tinubuâ€™s victory at the 25 February presidential election. In total, there are three petitions against Mr Tinubuâ€™s election pending at the election petition court, where the alleged inappropriate nomination of Mr Shettima is part of the issues raised.
The petitioners are Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, the Labour Partyâ€™s Peter Obi and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
The applicants in the case before the Federal High Court â€“ Praise Isaiah, Paul Audu and Anongu Moses â€“ urged the judge, James Omotosho, to stop Mr Tinubuâ€™s inauguration pending the conclusion of proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja.
But the Presidential Election Petition Court has a statutory 180-day period to hear and determine all pending petitions before it.
The court has only concluded its pre-hearing session of the three petitions on Tuesday, setting the stage for the trial of the substantive petitions, which commences on 30 May.
Fresh suit to scuttle Mr Tinubuâ€™s inauguration In the fresh suit, which came up before the judge, Mr Omotosho, on Tuesday, the court asked the applicantsâ€™ lawyer, Oliver Eya, to address it on three key issues on Friday, 26 May.
Specifically, Mr Omotosho asked Mr Eya to address the court on whether it has the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the case.
The judge also ordered the lawyer to explain to the court whether the plaintiffs have the right to file the suit and whether they have any legal right they seek to protect with the case.
Prayers In their requests, they urged the court to issue â€œan order of interim injunction restrainingâ€ Mr Tinubu â€œfrom being sworn-in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already filed.â€
The plaintiffs are praying for an order compelling the AGF, the IGP and the DG, SSS to arrest and prosecute Mr Tinubu for the alleged offences.
In the substantive suit, they claimed that Mr Tinubu had false information about his citizenship status and date of birth.
In their court filings, the plaintiffs named the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr Tinubu, All Progressives Congress (APC), the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
ALSO READ:Â Ex-UK Prime Minister Blair visits Tinubu, pledges support for incoming administration In an affidavit filed supporting the request, one of the plaintiffs, Mr Isaiah, urged the court to accede because Mr Tinubu is scheduled to be inaugurated president of Nigeria on 29 May â€“ in less than one week.
Allegations The plaintiffs alleged that Mr Tinubu, contrary to the affidavit he deposed to in FORM EC9 of INEC claiming to hold the citizenship of only Nigerian, is also a citizen of Guinea Republic. The alleged failure by Mr Tinubu to fully disclose the countries he holds citizenship amounts to perjury.
â€œThe act of perjury is not a minor case in Nigerian Law, as it is a deliberate and willful act of deceiving the court or the judges by telling lies and stating facts on oath contrary to what the deponent knows to be the truthâ€ the plaintiffs argued in their filings.
Citing Section 117 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, the offence of perjury attracts a punishment of 14 years imprisonment.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs argued that if Mr Tinubu â€œis sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he will be clothed with immunity from prosecution.â€
The plaintiffs arguing as Nigerian elections said, â€œIrreparable damage will be caused to both the plaintiffs and Nigerians if the 2nd defendant/respondent is not restrained from presenting himself to be sworn in as President of Nigeria.â€
â€œIn another document, obtained under subpoena from Chicago State University, tagged â€˜Academic Record,â€™ it was reliably discovered that the Tinubu in question was born in 1954. Meanwhile, Mr Tinubu had claimed in his official documents that he was born in 1952.
â€œThe real and original Bola Tinubu, who enrolled in the Chicago State University, was actually a female, and not a male,â€ the plaintiffs alleged.
â€œAn order nullifying the candidacy of the 2nd defendant as fielded by the 3rd defendant (APC) as its political party flag bearer for the presidential election of the 25th of February, 2023.
â€œAn order 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.â€