Supreme Court hears appeal seeking Buhari’s disqualification today

The Supreme Court has fixed today (Monday) for hearing in an appeal seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari as a candidate in the last presidential election.

It was learnt on Sunday that parties to the case had been served the Supreme Court’s hearing notice for the today’s proceedings.

The case, which was earlier dismissed by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, was anchored on the allegation that Buhari submitted false information regarding his academic qualification and certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission as a candidate in the February 23, 2019 poll.

Three Nigerians – Kalu Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail, Hassy Jyari El-Kunis – filed the appeal, anchored on 12 grounds, before the Supreme Court to challenge the July 12, 2019 judgment of the Court of Appeal.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, also raised similar issue in their petition before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The three appellants had, on their part, commenced their case before the Federal High Court in Abuja in 2018, alleging that Buhari falsely claimed to possess a school certificate he never had.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja, in his judgment delivered on May 2, 2019, struck out the suit for being statute-barred.

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson, in a unanimous judgment delivered on July 12, 2019, affirmed the Federal High Court’s verdict, dismissing the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred and the court robbed of jurisdiction to hear it on merit.

Delivering the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mohammed Idris held that  the matter had become statute-barred having not been filed within the 14 days period which the cause of action arose, as stipulated under Section 285(9) of the Nigerian Constitution.

The appellants, through their counsel, Ukpai Ukairo, on July 24, 2019, are urging the apex court to set aside the verdicts of both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.