Bid to stop Buhari from polls fails
LEGAL attempts to stop the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Major General Muhammadu Buhari from contesting the presidential election this Saturday, March 23, 2015 yesterday failed at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division.
This follows the decision of the court to adjourn till April 22 and 23, 2015 hearing in three suits, challenging Buhari’s eligibility to participate at the presidential race as a standard bearer.
Plaintiffs in the suit had approached the court with their separate actions, hoping to secure a decision barring Buhari from running at the polls.
But the trial Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola did not buy into that sentiment as he explained that his decision was informed by the court’s impending Easter holiday and judges’ conference that would follow.
The judge fixed the new dates without entertaining suggestions from lawyers to the parties.
The plaintiffs in the suits want the court to declare Buhari ineligible to contest in the election on the basis of his alleged failure to submit his certificate of academic qualifications along with his Form CF001 to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The plaintiffs claim that Buhari’s failure to submit his certificate of academic qualifications contravened provisions of sections 131 and 318 of the 1999 Constitution and section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
With three of the suits earlier struck on Tuesday, there are now three pending suits challenging Buhari’s eligibility to contest in the Saturday’s poll now pending before the court.
The judge fixed the new dates for the cases after he dismissed separate applications by two persons seeking to be joined as defendants in one of the suits.
The court in his ruling described the intending parties as “busy bodies and meddlesome interlopers”.
The parties seeking to be joined and whose applications were dismissed yesterday were Chukwuma Ochu and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.
The particular suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/01/15, in which the court ruled yesterday was filed by Chukwunweike Okafor.
But Justice Ademola added that the ruling on both the intending parties’ applications to join the suit and adjournment would bind other pending suits challenging Buhari’s eligibility that are still pending in his court.
Buhari, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission are the defendants in the suit and the other pending ones.
Okafor was represented by his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), while Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) represented Buhari, Mr. Sikiru Adewoye represented the APC and Mr. Hassan Liman represented the INEC.
The court had on Tuesday struck out three of such suits, one of which was filed separately by Ayakeme Whiskey (FHC/ABJ/CS/68/15); and the two others filed by Friday Ojelaro (FHC/ABJ/CS/20/15 and FHC/ABJ/CS/3/2015).
The three suits were struck out because they were mere replica of one another and the remaining pending suits.
The pending suits, which have now been adjourned till April 22 includes the ones filed by Okafor. The others were filed by Ayakeme Whiskey (FHC/ABJ/CS/68/15) and Max Ozoaka (FHC/ABJ/CS/14/15).
Justice Ademola ruled yesterday that he would entertain the substantive suits with the preliminary applications filed by the defendants on April 22 and 23.