The Honorable Justice Ademola Adeniyi sitting at the Federal High Court 7, Abuja on Thursday 26th, May 2016 dismissed the Preliminary Objections filed by President Muhammadu Buhari in the case instituted against him, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/110/2015 by an Abuja based Legal Practitioner, Barr. Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe challenging his competence to stand election into the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when he lacks the basic educational qualifications set out in the Constitution.
The development has reportedly thrown the Nigerian presidency into disquiet as President Buhari and his handlers greeted the ruling with shock, as very few Nigerians including members of Buhari’s government realized the case was still in court.
According to an informed source on the development, the ruling has caught the Buhari presidency unawares and has posed a big distraction for government activities at the Villa. “Nobody even knew the case was still on. The story was not even reported in the mainstream media. No paper carried the Thursday ruling. But I can tell you the Presidency is rattled and seriously hoping that the case does not resurface again in the public domain because of the huge embarrassment it could cause the President. But more importantly, there are concerns about the safety of the judge and the plaintiff”, the source disclosed.
Recall that in February 2015, Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe, Esq. filed an Originating Summons at the Federal High Court, Abuja praying the Court to among others declare that Buhari is unqualified to aspire to the position of President not having sat for the Secondary School Certificate and also deposing to a false affidavit about his educational qualifications contrary to the Electoral Act.
Buhari and the APC instead of entering a defence on the merits and exhibiting any educational certificates obtained by Buhari, tried to frustrate the hearing of the case by filing several objections to the competence of the action.
President Buhari reportedly retained over twenty SANs led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, Chief Akin Olujinmi, Femi Falana, etc., who for over one year now have failed to file any defence for Buhari or APC but instead used every trick in the book to delay the case.
But on Thursday, the Hon. Justice Ademola Adeniyi in his ruling on the case, dismissed all applications by the defendant as totally lacking in merit. He held that the suit filed by Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe was competent and the service on Buhari and APC was also competent.
He thereafter adjourned the case to the 16th day of June 2016 for hearing of the substantive Originating Summons to determine whether Buhari’s educational qualifications meets the minimum standards required by the Constitution.
According to reports made available to SIGNAL, only the counsel to INEC was in Court, the plaintiff was absent but wrote to the Court explaining that he received notice of the date for the ruling the previous night and was out of town and could not make it. APC (2nd Respondent) and Buhari (3rd Respondent) were absent, were not represented and did not write to Court.
It will be recalled that there were claims by online handlers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the Nigerian Army located President Buhari’s “missing certificate” after the elections. The missing certificate saga raised contention as to the eligibility of Buhari to contest the presidential election. However, it is on record that there was no official statement by the Nigerian Army up till this day corroborating claims that the certificate has been found.
SIGNAL will now monitor this case and present updates as they come.
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