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Appellants urge A’Court to disqualify Buhari as presidential candidate

Three appellants have urged the Court of Appeal in Abuja to disqualify President Muhammadu Buhari as a candidate in the last presidential election held on February 23, 2019, for allegedly submitting false information regarding his educational qualifications to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The prayer is contained in their appeal which they filed against the May 2, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had dismissed their suit.

The appellants are, Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismai’l and Hassy El-Kuris.

They joined Buhari, INEC and the All Progressives Congress in the appeal.

They had, among other prayers, asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to declare that Buhari submitted false information regarding his educational qualifications/certificates to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2019 General Elections.

They sought an order disqualifying Buhari from presenting himself and or contesting for the office of President in the election.

They also sought an order directing APC to reject/remove Buhari’s name as the party’s presidential candidate.

But in his judgment delivered on May 2, 2019, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred not being filed within the time prescribed by the Constitution.

In their appeal against the judgment, the appellants asked the Court of Appeal to hold that the trial court was wrong in relying on the court papers filed by Buhari through a law officer in the Ministry of Justice.

The appellants stated, through their lawyer, Ukpai Ukairo, “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.”

They also urged the appellate court to nullify the decision of the trial court to the effect that the suit was statute-barred by computing the number of days from September 28, 2018 when the APC held its primary election in which  Buhari was elected as the candidate of the party.

The appellants’ lawyer stated, “In conclusion we submit that the decision of the court below be reversed on the following grounds:

“That the processes filed by the 1st respondent (Buhari)  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.

“That the court assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant the reliefs sought at the lower court since we have demonstrated in paragraph 2:7 above that there is no counter affidavit known to law in opposition to the Originating Summons and ipso facto the reliefs sought.”

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