Hearing in suits to stop Buhari stalled
HEARING in two out of many suits instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division to disqualify the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, from the March 28 presidential race was Monday stalled owing to his failure to serve his written address on the plaintiffs in the matter.
There are about 15 pending suits against Buhari bordering on his alleged ineligibility, certificate forgery and perjury.
In the first action brought by way of originating summons filed by Barrister Chike Okafor, he is praying for an order compelling Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove or delete the name of Buhari and his party – All Progressives Congress in the list of persons and political parties eligible to contest for the office of President.
Listed in the suit are Buhari, APC and INEC as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
Okafor prays the court to hold that the information contained in Buhari’s Form C.F 001, averring to a West African School Leaving Certificate (WASC) is false and is thereby disqualified from contesting in the 2015 general elections.
At the resumed hearing, counsel to Okafor, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) informed the court that he has not been served with the defendant’s response to the suit.
But Counsel to Buhari, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) insisted that their response to the suit had been served on the plaintiff. Olujinmi however offered to put paid to the polemics of service by serving the defendants in open court, a gesture Ozekhome did not refuse to avoid waste of time.
But upon receiving service of the briefs, Ozekhome prayed the court for a short adjournment in order to respond to the issues raised.
But Olujinmi and counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) submitted that the outcome of the case would have no such bearing on the election as suggested by Ozekhome.
Olujinmi also informed the court that there was an application praying the court to set aside the totality of the summon effect on Buhari which has not been responded to.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola later adjourned till March 19 to hear all the pending application.
At the last adjourned date, Buhari had informed the court his intention to challenge two of the suits filed by Chike Okafor and Max Ozoaka seeking to stop him.
Buhari’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) had told the court then that he was opposing the suit in its entirety and also the order for substituted service which the court earlier granted in favour of the plaintiffs.
Though Olanipekun did not file any process as at the last adjourned date, he however informed the court that he was still within time.
He thereby prayed for a short adjournment to enable him file his defence to the suit.
Also, counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) submitted that with the postponement of the elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission there was no urgency in the matter and as such the order for substituted service be set aside.
He also seek for a short adjournment to enable him file his process to the suit.
Plaintiffs in the two suits did not oppose to the request for adjournment.
Following the controversies that greeted Buhari’s credentials, it was Okafor’s who opened the floodgates of legal action in that regard predicating it on the ground that there was no evidence that Buhari possessed the academic qualifications he claimed.
In that light, Okafor is asking for an order compelling Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to remove or delete the name of Buhari and his party, All Progressive Congress APC in the list of persons and political parties eligible to contest for the office of President.
Listed in the suit are Buhari, APC and INEC as first to third defendant.
Okafor however wants the court to hold that the information contained in Buhari’s Form C.F 001 stating that his educational qualification in the West African School Leaving Certificate (WASC) is false and is thereby disqualified from contesting in the 2015 general elections.
He also wants the court to declare that the information contained in Buhari’s affidavit dated November 24th, 2014 stating that the Secretary, Military Board is in custody of his WASC is false and is thereby disqualified from contesting in 2015 general election.
Also, the plaintiff wants Buhari who is the presidential candidate of APC in the 2015 general elections is disqualified from contesting the 2015 general elections by reason of giving false information on oath in his Form C.F 001 and the affidavit dated November 24th, 2014.
In the other suit filed by Ozoaka, the plaintiff raised eight questions for the court’s determination, praying for an order disqualifying Buhari from contesting or participating in the election.
The plaintiff had submitted that INEC FORM CF 001 which Buhari submitted to INEC was incomplete because he allegedly failed to accompany the form with all relevant academic credentials.
The plaintiff also raised objections as regards some of the information contained in other documents submitted by Buhari, which includes his voters card.
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