Qualification For Presidency: A’Court Decides Buhari’s Fate, Today

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President Muhammadu Buhari

The Court of Appeal will, today, deliver judgment in a suit filed against President Muhammadu Buhari, challenging his qualification for the 2019 presidential election.
A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson had, on Monday, July 8, reserved judgment in the suit after listening to the arguments canvassed by counsel to parties in the matter.
The court earlier held that the date for its judgment would be communicated to parties.
But as the 60-day time-frame provided by the law for the hearing of the matter expires July 12, the court yesterday communicated to parties its readiness to deliver judgment on July 12.
Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris had approached the appellate court to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.
The trial court declined to hear their suit instituted to challenge the educational qualification of Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 general election.
At the last sitting, counsel to the appellant, Mr. Ukpai Ukairo, insisted that Buhari was not educationally qualified to have stood for the presidential poll.
This, according to him, was on the grounds 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 appellants was statute-barred.
He added that the case was instituted on November 5, 2018, within the 14 days allowed by law. He said the cause of action started with the announcement and publication by INEC of successful candidates for the 2019 general election on October 25, 2018.
Ukairo, 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.
He urged 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.
However, lawyers to the first and second respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking merit.
Buhari’s counsel, Mr. 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.