Court Strikes out Suit on Buhari’s Certificate Case

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday struck out the suit seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari for lack certificate.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola struck out the suit following a notice of discontinuance filed by the plaintiff, Nnamdi Nwokocha – Ahaiwe.

Justice Ademola however gave no order as to cost.
Justice Ademola had reserved yesterday for ruling on an application asking the court to stay execution of a judgment it earlier granted against the defendants.

When the matter was mentioned yesterday, counsel to the plaintiff Chikordi Okeorji, however informed the court that the plaintiff had filed a notice of discontinuance pursuant to order 50 rule 2 (1) of the Federal High Court Rules. The notice of discontinuance was filed on June 27, 2016.

The defendants’ counsel, Paul Ajiboye, did not oppose the application, though he complained that he was not served.
Justice Ademola then went ahead to strike out the suit.
Nwokocha-Ahaiwe, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, had filed an application asking the Federal High Court to nullify the election of Buhari as President of Nigeria on the grounds that he did not possess the minimum academic requirement for the position.

The plaintiff in the suit also alleged that Buhari did not sit for the Cambridge West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961 as he had earlier claimed.

But Buhari raised a preliminary objection to the suit on the grounds that he was not properly served.
In his preliminary objection, the president challenged the mode of service of the originating summons on him, insisting that he ought to have been served at an address in Kaduna instead of by substituted means at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.

Justice Ademola, however dismissed the preliminary objection on the grounds that it was incompetent and upheld the service of the originating court processes on Buhari.

Ademola stated that the service of the court’s processes on the president through the secretariat of the APC was proper.
The defendants not satisfied with the court’s ruling, took the matter to the appeal court, asking the court to set aside or discharge ruling.

The president also sought the court to make an order setting aside the respondent’s (Ahaaiwe) originating summons for being incompetent.
Following the appeal, Justice Ademola had adjourned the matter indefinitely as the Court of Appeal has seized of this matter.

But in a turn of event, the judge yesterday announced that it would deliver judgment yesterday on the application to stay execution on his earlier ruling.
The academic qualification of the president became an issue mid-way into the campaigns of the 2015 general election where it was alleged that he did not possess WASC, a major prerequisite for contending the presidential election.

Buhari was alleged not to have included his WASC among the documents he tendered to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the build up to the election on the grounds that the said document was in the custody of the military board.
However, the military board had since denied this claim by the president.