ABUJA — A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed February 9 to hear a fresh suit seeking to disqualify the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), from contesting the forthcoming presidential election.
In a ruling yesterday, Justice Ademola Adeniyi directed that copies of the suit be served on Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who were cited in the matter as 1st and 2nd defendants, respectively, to enable them appear in court on that date.
The court specifically directed that the APC presidential flag-bearer should be served by substituted means, to wit: by publication of the originating summons against him in three national dailies.
The action was filed on behalf of a legal practitioner, Mr. Max Ozoaka, by a consortium of lawyers led by four Senior Advocates of Nigeria: Ade Okeaya-Inneh, Ken Njemanze, Prof. Tony Ijohor and Chief Godwin Obla.
Following an ex-parte application they moved in court yesterday, Justice Adeniyi also abridged the time within which the matter should be heard and determined.
The court said its decision to abridge the time within which the defendants could enter their appearances was due to the fact that the presidential poll is already in view.
Meantime, the plaintiff is among other things, praying the court for a declaration that the 1st defendant, Buhari, is not eligible to participate in the 2015 presidential election for failure to comply with the terms for submission of list of candidate and affidavit of personal particulars of persons seeking election to the office of President.
He is also seeking an order of court declaring as invalid the INEC Form C.F. 001 as filled and submitted by Buhari “as being inchoate and manifestly in contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act.”
The plaintiff is contending that Buhari’s failure/refusal to attach evidence of his birth certificate and educational qualifications, “which are conditions inherent/ precedent as prescribed in the form,” was in breach of relevant laws in Nigeria pertaining to presidential election.
Consequently, he prayed the court not to only declare the Form CF. 001 that was submitted to INEC by Buhari for the 2015 presidential election as incompetent, but to also declare that the voters card that was attached to the form was false on the ground that as at when the voters card was issued, the 1st defendant was not a “public servant” as he allegedly stated.
“An order declaring the said voters card as void for containing false information about the identity/occupation of the 1st defendant.
“An order disqualifying the 1st defendant from contesting and/or participating in the Presidential election fixed for February 14, 2015 or any date that the 2nd defendant may fix on the ground that the information contained in the 1stbdefendant’s INEC Form CF. 001 is false.
“An order restraining the 2nd defendant from permitting the 1st defendant from participating in the Presidential election fixed for February 14, 2015 or any other date that the 2nd defendant may fix.”