The Court of Appeal has ordered President Muhammadu Buhari to respond within five days to the appeal filed against his qualification for the 2019 presidential election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), which nominated Buhari for the presidential poll and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which accepted Buhari’s nomination were also given five days to also respond to all issues raised on the educational qualification of the president in the election.
Justice Datti Yayaya who issued the order, also directed that the president’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, must within the period file necessary processes in relation to the appeal filed against the president’s qualification by three appellants namely Agu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris.
The decision of the appellate court was sequel to a motion on notice filed by counsel to the appellants, Uchenna Ndubuisi, who prayed the Court of Appeal in the motion to abridge time within which president Buhari, APC and INEC will join issues with the appellants on the certifcate suit.
The President’s counsel and that of the APC, Mister Temitayo Lasaki had urged the appellate court in their response to the motion to give them five days to enable them 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 challenging 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 President Buhari which was 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 decison because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as candidate of the APC instead they challenged his educational qualification to participate in the polls.
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.
Among the reliefs were a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certifcate to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of the President of Nigeria and that he should be disqualified.
They also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of APC and another order restraining Buhari from parading himself as a candidate in the 2019 presidential election and also APC from recognizing Buhari as a candidate.
The Federal High Court had on May 2 declined to grant the request of the appellants on the grounds that the suit was not filed within the time allowed by law and therefore sustained the preliminary objection raised by the president at the hearing.
Hearing in the appeal is adjourned to July 8.