Appeal Court Reserves Judgment In Suit Challenging Buhari’s Academic Qualification

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The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal on Monday reserved judgment in the appeal filed against President Muhammadu Buhari’s academic qualification for the 2019 presidential election.

The three member panel of the appellate court presided over by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson, reserved judgment after listening to the argument canvassed by counsel to parties in the suit.

At Monday’s proceedings, 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 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for clearance to contest the presidential poll.

The counsel denied the claim that the suit of the appellant was statute barred, adding that the case was instituted on November 5, 2018 within the 14 days allowed by law. He said the cause of action started with the announcement and publication by INEC of successful candidates for the 2019 general election on October 25, 2018.

Ukairo 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.

He 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 1st and 2nd respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking merit.

Buhari’s counsel, 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 All Progressives Congress Babatunde Ogala, argued in the same line with Buhari 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.

Kalu, Ismail and 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 election.

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