- Three litigants have asked the Appeal Court to determine whether President Muhammadu Buhari lied over his educational qualifications in the form submitted to INEC
- The president, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and INEC were cited as defendants in the matter
- The litigants urged the appellate court to reverse the decision of the lower court, assume original jurisdiction on the matter and strike out all the processes filed by the president’s counsel
Three litigants, Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris, have asked the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal to invoke its original jurisdiction to determine whether in the Form CF001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the 2019 polls, President Muhammadu Buhari supplied false information about his educational qualification and certificates.
The litigants who identified themselves as electorate and taxpayers, in the appeal marked CA/A/436/201, are further urging the court to determine whether the office of the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice is competent to file processes to defend the allegation that the president lied on oath about his qualifications, Tribune reports.
Legit.ng gathers that President Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and INEC were cited as defendants in the matter.
The litigants, among other things, prayed the court to determine “whether having regard to the information in the affidavit contained in the 1st defendant’s INEC Form CF001 regarding his educational qualifications/certificates, the defendant has submitted false information to the 3rd defendant.
“Whether from the facts and exhibits contained in the affidavit in support of this originating summons, and having regard to section 31(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 ( as amended ), the 1st defendant is disqualified from running for the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2019 general elections.
“Whether the 1st defendant having submitted false information to the 3rd defendant, the 2nd defendant can validly present the 1st defendant as its candidate for the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the 2019 general elections.
“Whether the 3rd defendant can validly receive, accept or act upon the false information in the affidavit and documents submitted by the 1st as the candidate of the 2nd defendant for the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the 2019 general elections.
“Whether the 3rd defendant ought to have rejected the said false information and documents submitted by the 2nd defendant for the 1st defendant.”
Upon determination of the questions, the litigants prayed the court to hold that Buhari was not eligible to contest the presidential election.
The appellants, in their four grounds of appeal, also contended that the high court judge erred by relying on a preliminary objection filed by the AGF on the president’s behalf, to dismiss the suit.
The appellants argued that “the AGF or a lawyer in his office cannot appear or file processes for the 1st defendant.”
They urged the appellate court to determine “whether the learned trial judge was right in holding that the suit was statute-barred by computing the number of days from the 28th day of September 2018 when the 2nd respondent held its primary election wherein the 1st respondent was elected as a candidate of the 2nd respondent?”
They continued: “Arising from the foregoing, it is our submission that the learned trial judge was, with respect, wrong to have held that the objection to the representation by the attorney general and ipso facto the processes was belated in that there was no objection to the appearance of the law officers and that the appellants reacted to the processes filed. A court must be guided by the process before it.
“Howbeit, is further submitted that it is settled law that the issue of competence of proceedings or a process cannot be waived when the challenge goes to the fundamental nature of the process and not merely on a procedural aspect of the process.
“In the circumstances of the foregoing, we urge Your Lordship to hold that the reliance of the court on the processes and the refusal to strike them out was wrong.
“Further, we urge Your Lordship to reverse the decision of the court, assume original jurisdiction on the matter and strike out all the processes filed by the 1st respondent’s counsel.”
In conclusion, the appellants submitted that the decision of the court below be reversed on the grounds, “that the processes filed by the first respondent are incompetent and ought to be struck out.
“That the suit is not statute-barred as it does not question any act or event occurring at the 2nd respondent’s primary election.”
They urged the court to assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant the reliefs sought at the lower court.
Recall that Legit.ng previously reported that Atiku Abubakar who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election accused President Muhammadu Buhari of lying about his academic qualification.
Atiku and his party, in a counter-response to Buhari’s response to his petition at the election tribunal, said he was more qualified than the president.
Livy Uzoukwu, who led Atiku’s team of lawyers, said unlike the president, Atiku had been able to prove his academic credentials.
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