By Alex Enumah in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja insisted that there was no law to his knowledge that requires a candidate seeking election into the office of President of Nigeria to present any certificate qualifying him to contest the election.
Buhari made this submission at the resumed hearing of the petition of candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, and his party, PDP, challenging his emergence as winner of the polls.
The five man tribunal headed by Justice Mohammed Garba had at the last sitting adjourned till August 21 for parties to adopt their final written addresses for and against the petition.
Atiku and PDP had on March 18 filed their petition against the outcome of the presidential polls, alleging rigging, electoral malpractices amongst others and urged the tribunal to nullify the victory of Buhari at the polls.
Equally, the petitioners are asking the tribunal to nullify Buhari’s participation in the February 23 presidential election on grounds that he did not possess the necessary academic qualifications for the office of President and that President Buhari submitted false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to aid his qualification for the said election.
However, adopting his final written address in objection to the petition, Buhari through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on grounds that it lacked merit, it is bona fide and lacking in substance.
According to Olanipekun, the argument of the petitioners that Buhari was not qualified is not tenable as there is no law that requires Buhari to tender any certificate in order to contest for the office of the president.
He said, “The law of the land, constitution and case law do not expect any certificate to be tendered or attached”.
He insisted that by provisions of section 318 of the constitution, Buhari was well qualified to have contested the February 23 presidential poll, adding that witnesses called and documents tendered all proved that he was educated up to a secondary school level.
He submitted that the case of the petitioners was liable to be dismissed because it was not properly diagnosed and was ill advised.
Olanipekun accordingly urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition with cost against the petitioners.
More details soon…