A lawyer, Mr Chukwunweike Okafor, has written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, asking him to empanel a court to hear a suit he has sought to file in respect of the academic qualifications of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.
Since news broke last month that Buhari failed to submit his academic qualifications to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest the February 14 presidential election, and in their place, submitted a sworn court affidavit stating they were with the military authorities, some sections of the public have questioned his eligibility to be fielded as a presidential candidate.
Last Saturday, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) jumped into the fray, accusing INEC of bias for not disqualifying him as a candidate.
However, INEC, in its response, said it lacked the powers to disqualify Buhari and asked PDP to head to the court if it felt so strongly about the issue.
In the letter, Okafor said the case was ready but that he could not file it because the workers in the judiciary under the aegis of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) are on strike.
He asked the chief judge to make “a special dispensation with this case and empanel a court” to commence the hearing of this suit.
The letter, a copy of which was obtained by THISDAY yesterday, read: “As a result of the nature and urgency of this matter which borders on the qualification or non-qualification of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) who is the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Peoples Congress (APC).
“My Lord, we have reviewed all the documents published by the Independent National Electoral Commission and inclusive of the said documents is the affidavit deposed to by General Muhammadu Buhari which clearly shows that the nomination of General Muhammadu Buhari by the All Peoples Congress does not meet the minimum requirement enshrined in Section 131(d) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“At this stage Your Lordship, we have formed an opinion that there is a strong case to be made for the qualification or non-qualification of General Muhammadu Buhari to contest as the presidential candidate of the All Peoples Congress in the 2015 general election.
“Regrettably my Lord, the courts are on strike which has led to the non-filing of this action.
“May I humbly apply that this matter be heard by a departure from the rules of this court as the presidential election will be held on 14th February, 2015 which is less than 30 days from today and we also have less than 14 working days within which this suit will be heard before the said February 14th, 2015 presidential election.
“We humbly pray my Lord to make a special dispensation with this case and empanel a court to commence the hearing of this suit.
“We thank my Lord for his assistance and wish him a wonderful year ahead.”