The All Progressive Congress and its Presidential flag-bearer, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday failed to stop the Federal High Court in Abuja from examining the merit of the consolidated suit challenging the eligibility of Mr. Buhari for the March 28 presidential election.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola also reserved ruling till Wednesday on applications filed by two persons seeking to be joined as defendants in the suit. One of the applicants is a pro-democracy activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.
When the suit came up for hearing, Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and counsel to one of the plaintiffs, Chukwunweike Okafor, asked the court to reject the applications because it does not need them as parties in the suit to determine the merit of the case.
One of the suits was instituted by Mr. Okafor challenging Mr. Buhari’s eligibility to contest the presidential election.
He claimed that the APC presidential candidate perjured by allegedly claiming to have attached his academic qualifications to the INEC form he filled even though he did not do so.
The APC and INEC were joined as defendants in the suit.
The party and its candidate protested with separate preliminary objections to the hearing of the suit, arguing that they were not served the court process as required by the principle of natural justice and the rule of the court.
Although, the court granted Mr. Okafor the order to serve the process through substituted means, the APC flag-bearer, through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun, brought an application to set the order aside, contending that as far as he was concerned, no suit exists before the court for determination.
The APC and INEC also argued that even if they assumed that the court papers were properly served on them, the matter before the court was that of perjury, which according to them, was a criminal offence.
They contended that a criminal case could not be commenced by way of originating summons.
In his ruling, Mr. Ademola said the court would hear both the objections and the substantive suit together.