We may not have heard the last of the certificate saga of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed February 9 to hear a fresh suit seeking to disqualify him from contesting the forthcoming presidential election.
Justice Ademola Adeniyi ruled yesterday, that copies of the suit be served on Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who were cited in the matter as 1st and 2nd defendants, respectively, to enable them appear in court on that date.
The court specifically directed that the APC presidential flag-bearer should be served by substituted means, to wit: by publication of the originating summons against him in three national dailies.
The action was filed on behalf of a legal practitioner, Mr. Max Ozoaka, by a consortium of lawyers led by four Senior Advocates of Nigeria: Ade Okeaya-Inneh, Ken Njemanze, Prof. Tony Ijohor and Chief Godwin Obla.
Following an ex-parte application they moved in court yesterday, Justice Adeniyi also abridged the time within which the matter should be heard and determined, so as to ensure the matter is settled before the February 14 presidential election.
The plaintiff, among other things, wants the court to declare the 1st defendant, Buhari, ineligible to participate in the 2015 presidential election, for failure to comply with the terms for submission of list of candidate and affidavit of personal particulars of persons seeking election to the office of President.
He also wants an order of court declaring as invalid, the INEC Form C.F. 001 as filled and submitted by Buhari “as being inchoate and manifestly in contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act.”
The plaintiff’s request is based on Buhari’s failure/refusal to attach evidence of his birth certificate and educational qualifications, “which are conditions inherent/ precedent as prescribed in the form,” was in breach of relevant laws in Nigeria pertaining to presidential election.
He also prayed the court to also declare that the voters card that was attached to the form was false on the ground that as at when the voters card was issued, the 1st defendant was not a “public servant” as he allegedly stated.
“An order declaring the said voters card as void for containing false information about the identity/occupation of the 1st defendant.
“An order disqualifying the 1st defendant from contesting and/or participating in the Presidential election fixed for February 14, 2015 or any date that the 2nd defendant may fix on the ground that the information contained in the 1stbdefendant’s INEC Form CF. 001 is false.
“An order restraining the 2nd defendant from permitting the 1st defendant from participating in the Presidential election fixed for February 14, 2015 or any other date that the 2nd defendant may fix.”