Supreme Court to hear suit querying Buhari’s qualification today
THE Supreme Court is to hear today the suit querying the authenticity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s academic claims and his qualification to contest the last presidential election.
The September 2 hearing date was communicated to parties by the court’s Registry in notices sent out last week.
Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris are, by their appeal, praying the Supreme Court to, among others, set aside an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which upheld the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja in the matter.
Kalu, Ismail and El-Kuris, last November 5, filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the authenticity of President Buhari’s educational qualification as contained in the Form CF001, which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the conduct of the last presidential election.
They prayed the court, among others, for a declaration that the President submitted false information on his educational qualification and certificate to INEC to contest the last election and that he should be disqualified.
The appellants also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove President Buhari’s name as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and an order restraining him from parading himself as a candidate in the 2019 presidential election and restrain the APC from recognising him as its candidate.
They claimed to have learnt about the information in the Form CF001 allegedly submitted by President Buhari when INEC published the list of successful candidates for the 2019 general election October 25, last year.
The appellants also argued that their cause of action arose on the date of publication.
In a judgment on May 2, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, dismissed the suit for being statute barred.
Justice Mohammed held that the suit was not filed within the 14-day period allowed for the filing of pre-election matters under Section 285 of the Constitution.
The judge further held that the cause of action arose on September 28, last year, when the APC held its primary to select its candidate for this year’s presidential election.
On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Abuja, a three-man panel of the court held, in a judgment delivered on July 12, upheld the finding of the Federal High Court to the effect that the suit was statute barred, and the court dismissed it.
The Appeal Court also held that the cause of action occurred on October 18, last year, the date President Buhari submitted his Form CF001 to INEC.
The appeal to be heard today by the Supreme Court is against the Court of Appeal decision.
In their notice of appeal, the appellants raised 12 grounds.
They said: “The Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law and breached the right of the appellants to fair hearing by relying on a preliminary objection, withdrawn by the second respondent and struck out by the court, thus being a case not made out or relied upon or abandoned by a party in entering a decision in a judgment.
“The Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law in holding that the failure of the Registrar to sign the originating summons is fatal and goes to the issue of jurisdiction and thereby struck out the originating summons.
“The Justices of the Court of Appeal erred in law in holding that delving into the other issues raised in the appeal will be regarded as an academic exercise as the case has been held to have been statute barred by virtue of Section 285(9) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) fourth alteration and robs this court of its jurisdiction.”