A Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), Afam Osigwe, has said no court in the country will grant an injunction stopping the inauguration of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, as the President.
Osigwe was reacting to an alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS) that there is a plot to call for an interim government and a plan to stop the inauguration of Tinubu through a series of violent protests and attempts to get court injunctions.
Speaking in an interview with The Punch, Osigwe said he will be shocked if any court grants an injunction to restrain Tinubu who has been declared the winner of an election from being sworn in.
The foremost lawyer stated that if, hypothetically, the court gives the order to remove a person, it will take effect if it is upheld by the Supreme Court. He added that the right to peaceful protest should be protected by society.
He said: “The right to peaceful protest should be protected by society. It is part of the right to freedom of expression. But I would be shocked if any court grants an injunction to restrain a person who has been declared the winner of an election from being sworn in.
“At the return to civil reign, while Obasanjo was declared a winner, other contestants went to court. They did so in 2003, 2007, and 2011, and I think it was only in 2015 that the losers did not approach the court. In 2019, Atiku went to court, but the winners of these elections were sworn in. It never stopped anything.
“If, hypothetically, the court gives the order to remove a person, it will take effect if it is upheld by the Supreme Court. Our laws could be such that petitions are determined before swearing in; I subscribe to that.
“However, when somebody challenges your victory, there will be uncertainty until there is a final determination, but it should not stop the winner from assuming power.
“Someone can be removed and replaced with another person, or a rerun can be ordered. The state will not grind to a halt. It is part of our democratic process until there is a constitutional provision otherwise. We have to go with the fact that petitions must be filed within 180 days and appeals within 60 days. It is our judicial process as provided for by our constitution.”
Osigwe also slammed the DSS for issuing a press statement about the alleged plot, saying that the secret police should have been professional about the comment.
The lawyer said he didn’t expect a highly revered agency like the DSS to release a statement as if they were a political party, and as if their loyalty to the President-elect was called into question.
He said: “I don’t think it is professional. If people are plotting a coup, I do not expect a highly revered agency like the DSS to release a statement as if they were a political party, saying that they pledge their loyalty to the President-elect as if their loyalty were called into question.
“Nobody is calling their loyalty into question. If people are plotting to topple the government through undemocratic means, it is part of their statutory duties and power to sanction an arrest. If they have identified them as they claimed, then they should arrest them.
“But after a week of making that statement, no arrest has been made; making it seem like that call was just flying a kite. It didn’t seem like it was founded on any credible intelligence, and no concrete investigation seems to be going on. I don’t think the press statement put them in a good light.”