The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division will today delivered judgment in the suit challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s qualification for the February 23,2019 polls.A three-member panel of the court, presided over by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson, had on July 8 reserved judgment in the suit after entertaining arguments of counsel.
The 60-day time frame provided by law for hearing of the matter expires today. The court therefore yesterday communicated the parties to the suit of its readiness to rule on the matter. Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the of the Federal High Court, Abuja which declined to hear their suit instituted to challenge Buhari’s educational qualifications before the conduct of this year’s general election.
At the last sitting, counsel to the appellant, Ukpai Ukairo, insisted that the president was not educationally qualified to have stood for the exercise on the grounds that the required certificates were not attached to his Form CF001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He denied the claim that the suit was statute-barred, adding that the case was instituted on November 5, 2018 thus fell within the 14 days allowed by law.
The lawyer 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. Ukairo therefore urged the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the lower court on grounds of miscarriage of justice.He also asked the court to nullify Buhari’s participation in the February 23 polls on account of non-qualification.
However, lawyers to the first and second respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking in merit. Buhari’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, specifically told the court that the case of the appellant was statute-barred, urging it to uphold the decision of the high court.Lawyer to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Babatunde Ogala, also sought dismissal of the appeal, while that of INEC, Onyeri Anthony said the commission was neutral and would abide by the decision of the court.