Buhari’s qualification legal battle heads to Supreme Court 

The legal fight over the academic qualification of President Muhammadu Buhari has moved to the Supreme Court where the appellants are seeking the nullification of his candidacy in the presidential election that brought him into power as the Nigeria president for a second term.

The appeal is against the Court of Appeal’s decision dismissing the appeal on the grounds that it was barred from statute and cannot be heard as such.

In a unanimous judgment handed down by Justice Mohammed Idris, the Court of Appeal held on 12 July 2019 that the singular fact that the suit was filed outside the fourteen days provided by the law robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the suit. The suit was therefore rejected due to incompetence and lack of merit.

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The appellants, Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris, however, specifically want the nomination of Buhari and his subsequent victory at the presidential election of February 23 to be nullified on the basis that President Buhari lied on oath in his form 001 which he presented to INEC for clearance in the presidential election.

In their Notice of Appeal marked as follows: CA / A/436/2019, they request an order from the apex court to set aside the Court of Appeal’s judgement and hear the case on merit and grant the relief sought in the Originating Summons.

The Notice of Appeal dated and lodged on 24 July 2019 and is anchored on 12 basis by their lawyer, Ukpai Ukairo. The appellants submitted the lawsuit on 5 November 2018, claiming on 25 October, the date on which INEC released the list of successful applicants in the 2019 general election as the date on which the cause of action emerged, making the lawsuit competent. The Court of Appeal’s three-man panel of judges also rejected the lawsuit on the basis that it was incompetent on the basis of the preliminary complaint lodged by the lawyer of the APC challenging the jurisdiction of the lawsuit.

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In their further search for justice, the judgment led the appellants to approach the apex court.

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