Court Adjourns Case on Buhari’s Certificate Indefinitely

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

A Federal High Court has adjourned the suit seeking to disqualify President Muhammadu Buhari from the 2015 presidential elections on the grounds that he failed to exhibit his West African School Certificate (WASC) in the form he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice Adeniyi Ademola adjourned the suit following an application by counsel to the defendants namely: President Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the INEC that the case be adjourned to enable them prosecute the appeal in respect of a ruling by the high court that the president was properly served with the originating processes.
The defendants also filed an application for a stay of proceedings pending the appeal.
They also filed an affidavit to prove that the Court of Appeal had entered the appeal. The affidavit was served on both the plaintiff, Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe and the court yesterday.

The plaintiff had objected to the application to stay the proceeding on the grounded that having been served with the said affidavit right inside the court while the proceedings were on, he would require time to react to it.
He however later decided to leave the issue to “the discretion of the court” in order to save time.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola agreed with the submissions of Kola Awodein, SAN, leading three other Senior Advocates of Nigeria: Charles Edosomwan, Taiwo Osipitan and Emeka Ngige, challenging the hearing of an amended originating summons seeking the cancellation of Buhari’s election.
The judge upheld Awodein position that the matter be ‘adjourned indefinitely when the Appeal Court has been seized of it pending its conclusion.

Nnamdi Nwokocha Ahaiwe had earlier asked the court to hear his application for amendment of the originating summons challenging the president’s Primary Six certificate and WASC.
In the amended motion on notice, Ahaiwe is also seeking an order of the court invalidating the candidature of Buhari in respect of the 2015 general election.

He is asking the court to order INEC to withdraw the ‘Certificate-of-Return’ given to Buhari and issue a fresh one to former president, Goodluck Jonathan, who came second in the election.

According to him, the president’s affidavit on the position of his certificate was false because when he deposed to the affidavit of 24th November, 2014, which was attached to his INEC Form C.F. 001, ‘there was no organ, institution, agency, department or authority known as and called ‘Military Board’ in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
He said when the affidavit was made, there was no office or officer known and called the ‘Secretary to the Military Board’ existing in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He also asked the court to hold that that “neither the Nigerian Army nor any of its organs is in possession of the Primary Six School Certificate or the WASC of the third defendant, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).”

He also seeking a declaration that Buhari was not qualified to stand for and contest the election to the office of the President of the Federal republic of Nigeria at the 2015 general election for making false statement to INEC in breach of the provisions of Section 31 (6) of the Electoral act, 2010 as amended and failure to attach proof to his nomination form that he has attained educational qualification to qualify to contest election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as set out in 131 (d) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In the appeal, APC and Buhari are challenging the ruling of the court on February 16, 2015 granting ex parte application to Ahaiwe to serve Buhari with the originating summons on the APC by substituted means at No 40 Blantyre Street, off Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II, Abuja rather than his residential address at No 4A and B Sultan Lane, off Sultan Road, Kaduna.