As Nigerians brace up for what promises to be the nation’s most intriguing elections in recent times, the fate of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari is hanging in the balance as the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Mohammed I Abubakar began hearing yesterday of a suit filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Senator Alphonsus Igbeke seeking the disqualification of General Buhari for breaching relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act 2010 by seeking to contest election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress Party (APCP) which the plaintiffs contend is not an existing political party in Nigeria today.
They are also praying the court to determine whether General Buhari who failed to show proof that he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth in his INEC Form CF001 is qualified to vie for the office of president of Nigeria. The contention here is that in failing to attach his birth certificate to his INEC Form, Buhari had left a huge gap in his profile that makes people wonder whether he is truly a Nigerian.
The Plaintiffs also contend that General Buhari failed to attach any evidence of his purported educational qualifications to his INEC Form and consequently fell below the minimum standards for candidates standing election for the office of president.
APGA and Senator Igbeke are also praying the court to determine whether Buhari who “falsely” claimed in his Voter’s Card submitted alongside the INEC Form that he was a public servant as at January 22nd 2011 should not be disqualified from contesting the coming presidential election.
They further averred that the APC presidential candidate who deposed an affidavit at an Abuja High Court in November 2014 claiming that “All my academic qualifications documents as filled in my Presidential Form, President APC/100/2015 are currently with the Secretary Military Board as at the time of this affidavit,” ought to be disqualified from contesting the said election for lying on oath.
When the matter came up yesterday, the APC Lawyer M.N. Anikwejike sought to be joined in the suit as according to him, it is incumbent to join all parties in the suit.
The lawyer to Buhari, the first defendant, Emeka Ngige (SAN) told the court he had not yet been served the application for the joinder.
Ngige drew the attention of the Court to similar suits against Buhari in Umuahia and Yenogoa and even at the Federal High Court in Abuja, stressing that the suit outside the Federal Capital Territory were transferred to Abuja, suggesting to the Court to toe a similar line.
The presiding Judge ruled that he would use his discretion to decide what to do adding that he would do the needful.
Counsel to the Plaintiffs, C.N. Nsobundu, said he was just served on the morning of the day that case was heard arguing that the application for the joinder was incompetent as according to him, it failed to satisfy Order 9 of the court Rule.
According to Nsobundu, all the issues pertaining to the joiner must be cleared while applications for striking ought be taken together.
Reacting to the objection by Counsel to the plaintiff, the APC lawyer argued that it should not be done orally adding that it was incumbent and necessary to join all parties in a case of that nature.
The Counsel to the applicants objected to the move being canvassed to transfer the case saying the applicants reside in Awka and INEC exists in Anambra State adding that there
exists a Federal High Court of equal jurisdiction in the State, hence there was no need for the transfer of the suit
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