Hearing Begins On Case Against Buhari’s Certificate At Supreme Court

Supreme Court will Monday hear the case querying the authenticity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s academic claims and his qualification to contest the last presidential election.

The September 2, 2019 hearing date was communicated to parties by the court’s Registry in notices which the apex court sent out.

Appellants, Kalu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris appealed the judgement of the Court of Appeal praying the Supreme Court to, among others, set aside an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja. The court had earlier upheld the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja in the case.

Kalu, Ismail and El-Kuris had on, November 5, 2018 challenged the authenticity of Buhari’s educational qualification at the Federal High Court. They frowned at the president’s credential 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, among others, prayed the court for a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his educational qualification and certificate to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of the President of Nigeria and that he should be disqualified.

They also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and an order restraining him (Buhari) 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 Buhari when INEC published the list of successful candidates in the 2019 general election October 25, 2018 and argued that argued that their cause of action arose on the said date of publication.

In a judgment on May 2, 2019, 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 days period allowed for the filing on pre-election cases under Section 285 of the Constitution.

The judge further held that the cause of action arose on September 28, 2018 when the APC held its primary election to select its candidate for the 2019 presidential election.

On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Abuja, a three man panel of the court held, in a judgment given on July 12, 2019 upheld the finding of the Federal High Court, to the effect that the suit was statute barred and dismissed it.

The Court of Appeal also held that the cause of action occurred on October 18, 2018, the date 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 of appeal and argued, among others that “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 2nd 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) 4th alteration and robs this court of its jurisdiction.”

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