On Monday, September 2nd, the Supreme Court criticised President Buhari for using a senior state counsel at the Ministry of Justice, Abdullahi Abubakar, for his private election-related trial.
The apex court criticised Buhari for using lawyers paid by government during his election tribunal hearings. The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate during the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, are challenging Buhari’s victory at the election tribunal.
Also, Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris, are challenging the candidacy of President Buhari as the flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress during that exercise. The appellants claimed that President Buhari lied on oath in the form CF001 he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Abdullahi Abubakar, a senior lawyer at the Ministry of Justice, has been appearing for Buhari at the tribunal. Justice Mary Odili, while reading the unanimous ruling of the five-man panel of the Supreme Court, questioned Abubakar’s appearance for Buhari, who was sued as a private citizen and not in his capacity as President.
The judge said when Bill Clinton, a former President of the United States, was sued, he used his personal funds to defend himself in court. Odili described the situation as a contravention of the provisions of the Code of Conduct for public officers.
The court said, “The representation of Mr Buhari by the Senior State Counsel of the Ministry of Justice in his personal capacity and not as Nigerian President, is inappropriate.”