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Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2019

Court reserves judgment in suit challenging Buhari’s academic qualification

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By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

The Court of Appeal Abuja, yesterday, reserved judgment in the appeal challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s academic qualification for the 2019 presidential election.
Adopting his addresses, counsel to the appellant, Ukpai Ukairo, insisted that President Buhari was not qualified academically to have stood for the presidential poll.
He asked the court to nullify Buhari’s participation in the February 23 presidential election because he was not educational qualified for the poll at the time he did.
He maintained that the required certificates were not attached to his form CF001, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for clearance to contest the presidential poll.
The counsel denied the claim that the suit of the appellant was statute barred, adding that the case was instituted on November 5, 2018 within the 14 days allowed by law.
He, therefore, urged the Court of Appeal to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the Federal High Court on grounds of miscarriage of justice.
However, counsel to the 1st and 2nd respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking merit.
Buhari’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, specifically told the Appeal Court that the case of the appellant was statute barred having not been filed within the mandatory period stipulated by the law.
He urged the court to uphold the decision of the Federal High Court to the effect that the suit was not filed in line with the position of the law.
Counsel to the All Progressives Congress Babatunde Ogala, argued on the line with Buhari and urged the court to dismiss the appeal, while counsel to INEC, Onyeri Anthony, said the commission is neutral and would abide by the decision of the court.
Kalu, Ismail and El-Kuris had approached the appellate court to nullify and set aside the Judgment of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court which declined to hear their suit instituted to challenge the educational qualification of President Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 general election.
The appellants in their appeal are asking the appellate court to reverse the judgment of Justice Ahmed Mohammed on the grounds that the processes filed by Buhari and used to strike out their suit were not competent.
The appellants claimed that the Federal High Court erred in law and in its decison because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as candidate of the APC.
They therefore urged the Court of Appeal to assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant all the reliefs sought at the Federal High Court but which were refused.
After listening to the argument canvassed by counsel to parties in the suit, the three member panel of the appellate court presided over by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson, reserved judgment.

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