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Buhari v. Obasanjo (2003)


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CASE SUMMARY OF:
Buhari v. Obasanjo (2003)
by PaulPipAr.

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PARTIES
Appellants
1. MUHAMMADU BUHARI
2. CHUBA OKADIGBO
3. ALL-NIGERIA PEOPLES PARTY

And

Respondents
CHIEF OLUSEGUN AREMU OBASANJO & 266 OTHERS

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CITATION
(2003) LPELR-SC.133/2003
(2003) 17 NWLR (PT. 850) 587

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FACT
This is challenging the eligibility of the 1st respondent to be a candidate for the presidential election. This is an appeal to an Interlocutory decision given by the Court of Appeal.
The appellant filed an appeal before the Nigerian Supreme Court to nullify the decision of the Court of Appeal stating that it erred when it held that the first two respondents - Obasanjo & Atiku - can continue in office as President and Vice President respectively even when the election is in question before the Court.
At the Court of Appeal, it prayed that the Court restrain the first two respondents from presenting themselves for the swearing-in ceremony to happen on 29th May, 2003.

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ISSUE
1. Whether the 1st and 2nd Respondents whose qualification, election and return as the President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was being challenged in a competent court can validly be sworn into office before the determination of the Appellants' Petition before the lower court.
(2) Whether the Court of Appeal was right in holding that the Res will not be destroyed if the application is not granted.

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LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY
S.M.A BELGORE, JSC.

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HOLDING
The Nigerian Supreme Court held that since this appeal sought for an injunction, it therefore is an equitable matter and not Constitutional in nature.
The first issue was cleaned off as a mere academic claim, bacause what the appellants are seeking to put on a hold has already been concluded - the swearing-in, and hence it was dismissed.
It adviced the Appellant to wait for the substantial matter to be decided by the Court of appeal. It held that there was nothing wrong with the respondents presenting themselves for swearing in even though the question as to the validity of the respondents to conduct the election was still being tried in the Court of Appeal.
The matter that the appellant brought before this court to seek has already been concluded, and that is the prevention of the respondents from being sworn-in. They were sworn in on May 29th, 2003, this matter was filed on June 6th, 2003.

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REFERENCED
The Court made reference to:
S. 138 of Electoral Act 2002, it is provided:
"S.138 (1) If the Electoral Tribunal or the court, as the cases may be, determines that a candidate returned as elected was not validly elected, and if notice of appeal against that decision is given within 21 days from the date of the decision, the candidate returned as elected shall, notwithstanding the contrary decision of the Electoral Tribunal or the court, remain in office pending the determination of the appeal.
(2) If the Electoral Tribunal or the court, as the cases may be, determines that a candidate returned as elected was not validly elected, the candidate returned as elected shall, notwithstanding the contrary decision of the Electoral Tribunal or the Court, remain in office pending the expiration of the period of 21 days within which an appeal may be brought."

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