In an unexpected turn of events, Dr Adah Obekpa, a Nigerian medical practitioner based in the United States, has initiated a legal move to stall the impending presidential inauguration scheduled for May 29, 2023.
Dr Obekpa filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Nigeria, urging a delay in the inauguration until the resolution of his standing case before the Court.
Dr Obekpa’s Appeal No. SC/934/2019, filed by his legal counsel, is predicated on his claim of unlawful exclusion from the 2011 General Elections. Obekpa asserts he was unjustly barred from participating as the potential presidential candidate of the African Renaissance Party (ARP), a registered political party in Nigeria
Arguing his case with precedence in mind, Dr Obekpa leans on the Amaechi vs Omehia case to strengthen his argument. He posits that the circumstances of his alleged unlawful exclusion deserve priority over any other considerations before the apex court.
“The determination of the circumstances surrounding my unlawful exclusion by the Court should take pre-eminence over any other consideration in the eyes of the law,” Dr. Obekpa argued in his legal brief.
The defendants in the original suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Assembly, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was, at the time, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
A statement by his legal counsel, Jonathan Akeme, Esq, released on Sunday, May 21, 2023, clarifies that the motion before the Supreme Court was filed on Monday, May 15, 2023, and there is an application to join President Muhammadu Buhari and the attorney general of the federation to the suit.
While the legal maelstrom takes shape, it’s unclear how this could impact the timeline for the presidential swearing-in. Yet, this unprecedented legal action by Dr Obekpa adds another layer of complexity to Nigeria’s political landscape.
If the Supreme Court deems it appropriate, the May 29 inauguration could be put on hold, sending shockwaves through the nation’s political system.
The Nigerian government has yet to respond to this development officially. As the situation unfolds, both domestic and international observers will be closely monitoring the proceedings, in what promises to be a noteworthy moment in Nigeria’s democratic journey.