Appeal Court dismisses suit challenging Buhari’s educational qualification for 2019 elections

Court of Appeal Headquarters
Court of Appeal Headquarters

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, has struck out a suit seeking to nullify the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari on academic grounds.

The court in a judgement on Friday said the application was brought outside the specified time for pre-election matters.

A three-member panel of the court let by Justice AtinukeAkomolafe-Wilson had reserved judgment for Friday after entertaining arguments from the appellants on Wednesday.

The applicants, Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy Kyari el-Kuris, had approached the appellate court after a Federal High Court dismissed their application on the grounds that it was brought outside the specified period of time.

In a judgement on the appeal, read by Mohammed Idris on behalf of the three-member panel, the court agreed with the high court and struck out the motion.

“We have decided to settle on the preliminary objection. To determine the issue, we have to pay serious attention to when the cause of action arose.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the cause of action arose on October 18 when the documents said to be false that is the Curriculum Vitae and affidavit were submitted to INEC in form CF001,” the court ruled.

It then added that based on section 285 (9) of the 1999 Constitution, the case was brought later than the stipulated period of 14 days when a pre-election matter ought to have been brought.

The court further held that even if the first part of the application had succeeded and the court agreed that the matter was not brought out of time, the stipulated period when such a pre-election matter ought to have been determined elapsed since May.

Consequently, the court ruled that it cannot accord itself any jurisdiction outside that given to it by the constitution.

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Mr Buhari’s educational qualification is also one of the grounds of the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the presidential election tribunal.

Mr Abubakar came second in the February presidential election won by Mr Buhari.

The opposition candidate, however, alleges, among others, that Mr Buhari lied on oath about his educational qualifications and that the electoral commission manipulated the result in favour of the president.

Mr Abubakar and the PDP are still arguing their petitions at the tribunal.

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