The undying President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate scandal has erupted again in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, as three concerned citizens are challenging in court, the qualification of the retired Army Major General to stand for the presidential election without demonstrating his educational certificates as required by law.
Besides President Buhari, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the president’s party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have some bones to crack on the matter.
Already, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division has ordered the parties involved to respond within five days to the appeal filed against Buhari’s qualification for the 2019 presidential election.
The court, which according to the News Agency of Nigeria has fixed July 8 for hearing of the appeal, ordered President Buhari, the APC, and INEC to within five days respond to all issues raised on the educational qualification of the president in the election.
Justice Datti Yayaya who issued the order also directed that Buhari’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, to within the period file necessary processes in relation to the appeal.
The appeal was filed by Agu Kalu, Labaran Ismail, and Hassy El-Kuris.
Agency report says the decision of the appellate court was sequel to a motion on notice filed by counsel to the appellants, Uchenna Ndubuisi, praying the Court of Appeal in the motion to abridge within which Buhari, APC, and INEC will join issues with the appellants on the certificate suit.
Abubakar and Temitayo Lasaki counsel for APC had urged the appellate court in their response to the motion to give them five days to enable them to file their respondents’ brief of argument along with other processes so as to set the stage for the hearing of the substantive appeal.
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.
The lower court had 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.
While faulting the Judgment of the High Court, which was predicated on the grounds that the suit was statute barred, the appellants claimed that the Federal High Court erred in law and in its decision.
This they said was because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as the candidate of the APC.
They are therefore, urging 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.
Among the reliefs is a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certificate to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of the President of Nigeria and that he should be disqualified.
They are also praying for an order of the court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of APC as well as an order restraining Buhari from parading himself as a candidate in the 2019 presidential election and also APC from recognising Buhari as a candidate.
The Federal High Court had on May 2 declined to grant the request of the appellants on the grounds that the suit was not filed within the time allowed by law and therefore sustained the preliminary objection raised by Buhari at the hearing.
But not satisfied, the appellants are now asking the Court of Appeal to grant their reliefs because they are not challenging the primary election of APC as erroneously held by the lower court.