Certificate suit: Appeal Court gives Buhari five days to respond

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Monday ordered President Muhammadu Buhari to respond within five days to the appeal filed against his qualification for 2019 .

The All Progressive Congress (APC) which nominated the Buhari for the Presidential poll and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which accepted the nomination of Buhari were also given five days within which to respond to all issues raised on the educational qualification of the President for the election. 

Issuing the order on Monday, Justice Abubakar Dati Yahaya, directed Buhari’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, to within the five-days-period file necessary processes related to the appeal against Buhari’s qualification by three appellants namely: Kalu Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy Kyari El-Kunis.

The decision of the Court of Appeal followed a motion-on-notice filed by Counsel to the three appellants, Uchenna Ndubuisi, who the appellate court in e motion to abridge time within which Buhari APC and INEC will join issues with the three appellants on the certificate qualification matter.

Buhari’s Counsel, Abubakar, and APC’s Counsel, Temitayo Lasaki, had urged the court in their response to the motion to give them five days to enable them file their Respondent Brief of Argument along with other processes so as to set the stage for hearing of the substantive appeal. 

Agu, Ismail and El-Kunis had approached the Court of Appeal to nullify and set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which declined to hear heir suit instituted to challenge the educational qualification of President Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 General Elections.

In their appeal before the appellate court prayed for the reverse the judgment of the High Court on the ground that processes filed by Buhari which was used to strike out their suit were not competent.

While faulting the judgment of the High Court which was predicted on the ground that their suit was statute barred, the appellant claimed that the High Court erred in law and in its decision because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as candidate of the APC.

The appellants therefore urged the Court of Appeal to assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant all the reliefs sought at the High Court but which were refused.

Among the reliefs sought were a declaration by the court that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certificate to INEC for the purpose of contesting in the election for the office of the President of Nigeria. Also, appellants asked that the court grant prayer for his disqualification.

They also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of the APC and another order restraining Buhari from parading himself as a candidate  in the 2019 election and also APC from recognizing Buhari as candidate.

The Federal High Court Blueprint recall had declined to grant the request of the appellants on the ground that their suit was not filed within the time prescribed by law and therefore sustained the preliminary objection raised by Buhari at the High Court.

Not satisfied with the High Court decision, the three appellants are now asking the appellate court to grant their reliefs because they are not challenging the the primary election of APC as held by the High Court but the qualification of Buhari to stand for e with demonstrating his educational certificate as required by law.

Meanwhile, parties are to return to court July 8, 2019.

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