The Appeal Court in Nigeria has dismissed a suit seeking to void the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential elections on academic grounds.
Sitting in Abuja, Friday, a three-member panel of the court, led by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson, which had heard arguments from the appellants on Wednesday, ruled on the technicalities of the case that the application was brought outside the specified time for pre-election matters.
The applicants, Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy Kyari el-Kuris, had approached the Court of Appeal after a Federal High Court dismissed their application on similar grounds.
Justice Mohammed Idris, who read the judgment on behalf of the panel, summed that the court agreed with the High Court and therefore struck out the motion.
The ruling noted that: “We have decided to settle on the preliminary objection. To determine the issue, we have to pay serious attention to when the cause of action arose.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the cause of action arose on October 18 when the documents said to be false that is the Curriculum Vitae and affidavit were submitted to INEC in form CF001.”
It then added that based on section 285 (9) of the 1999 Constitution, the case was brought later than the stipulated period of 14 days when a pre-election matter ought to have been brought.
The Appeal Court noting that since it cannot accord itself any jurisdiction outside the constitution, explained that where the first part of the application deemed to have succeeded, the stipulated period for the determination of all pre-election matters ended in May, hence the dismissal.
The status of the educational qualifications of President Buhari has remained cloudy since his election in 2015 and throughout his first term. It is also part of the grounds of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s petition at the tribunal against the election of Buhari in presidential election.
Abubakar accuses Buhari of lying on oath about his educational qualifications and that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) doctored the election results in favour of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Buhari.