Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has ordered President Muhammadu Buhari to respond within five days to the appeal challenging his educational qualification for the 2019 presidential election.
Also ordered to respond within the same time frame is his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which nominated him for the presidential poll, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which accepted his nomination.
The order was issued yesterday by Justice Datti Yayaya, who equally directed Buhari’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, to file all necessary court papers with regard to the appeal filed against Buhari’s qualification by three appellants, namely Agu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris, within a period of five days.
The decision of the court followed a motion on notice filed by counsel to the appellants, Uchenna Ndubuisi, who prayed the Court of Appeal in the motion to abridge within which Buhari, APC and INEC, will join issues with the appellants on the certificate suit.
Abubakar and that of APC, Temitayo Lasaki, had urged the appellate court, in their response to the motion, to give them five days to file their respondents’ brief of argument along with other processes, so as to set the stage for hearing of the substantive appeal.
Kalu, Ismail and El-Kuris, had approached the appellate court to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, which declined to hear their suit instituted to challenge the educational qualification of President Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 general election.
The appellants, in their appeal, are asking the appellate court to reverse the judgment of Justice Ahmed Mohammed on the grounds that the processes filed by Buhari and used to strike out their suit were not competent.
While faulting the judgment of the High Court, which was predicated on the grounds that the suit was statute barred, the appellants claimed that the Federal High Court erred in law and in its decision because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as candidate of the APC.
They, therefore, urged the Court of Appeal to assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant all the reliefs sought at the Federal High Court, but which were refused.