The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal is to deliver judgment a suit challenging the qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the 2019 Presidential Election, Channels Television has revealed.
A three-member panel of the court presided over by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson had on Monday reserved judgment in the suit after listening to the argument canvassed by counsel to parties in the matter.
The court had 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 communicated to parties of its readiness to deliver its judgment.
Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris had approached the appellate court to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court which declined to hear their suit instituted to challenge the educational qualification of President Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 General Elections.
Among the reliefs sought was a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for the purpose of contesting the election and thus, he should be disqualified.
They also prayed for an order of the court directing INEC to remove the President’s name as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and another order restraining him from parading himself as a candidate in the presidential election, as well as APC from recognising Buhari as a candidate.
At the last sitting, counsel to the appellant, Ukpai Ukairo, insisted that President Buhari was not educationally qualified to have stood for the presidential poll on the grounds that the required certificates were not attached to his form CF001, submitted to INEC for clearance to contest the presidential poll.
He denied the claim that the suit of the appellants was statute barred, adding that the case was instituted on November 5, 2018, within the 14 days allowed by law.
Ukairo said the cause of action started with the announcement and publication by INEC of successful candidates for the 2019 General Elections on October 25, 2018.
He, 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.
The lawyer asked 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, the President and the All Progressive Congress (APC), urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking merit.
Counsel to the President, 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.
He urged the court to uphold the decision of the Federal High Court to the effect that the suit was not filed in line with the position of the law.
Counsel to the APC, Mr Babatunde Ogala, aligned himself with the President’s submission and urged the court to dismiss the appeal, while counsel to INEC, Onyeri Anthony, said the commission was neutral and would abide by the decision of the court.
The appellants, in their appeal, asked the court to reverse the judgment of Justice Ahmed Mohammed on the grounds that the processes filed by President Buhari and used to strike out their suit were not competent.
They claimed that the Federal High Court erred in law and in its decision because they did not challenge the primary election that produced the President as the candidate of the APC.