Peace may have been temporarily restored at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa following the discontinuance of a suit instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari for lack of requisite certificate for the office of President.
An Abuja-based lawyer, Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe, in a notice dated June 27, 2016 and filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja is seeking to discontinue the suit he instituted seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari and his removal from office over a lingering certificate scandal which has posed a serious credibility concern for the Buhari administration since news of the suit broke in May 2016.
Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe had sought the disqualification of Buhari saying the President did not sit for the Cambridge West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1961 as he claimed.
However, the Abuja-based lawyer filed the notice of discontinuance, dated June 27, and did not give any reason for withdrawing the case from court.
Reports available to SIGNAL however indicate that the development may have been prompted by the subtle threats on him to withdraw the case from court.
Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe had alleged that his family and friends were being threatened over the case and was concerned for his safety.
In swift response to the motion for discontinuance, Justice Ademola Adeniyi struck out the case in a short ruling on Thursday.
Defence lawyer, Mr. Paul Ajiboye, who represented Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, in court on Thursday, said he had no objection to the plaintiff’s notice of discontinuance.
Recall that SIGNAL broke the news of a ruling in May 2016 by Justice Ademola Adeniyi maintaining that President Buhari had a case to answer over the certificate scandal. Justice Ademola Adeniyi, sitting at the Federal High Court 7, Abuja on Thursday 26th, May 2016 had dismissed the Preliminary Objections filed by President 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 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.
Curiously, the report of this ruling was conspicuously absent in all Nigerian national dailies and other prominent media houses.
According to an informed source on the development, the ruling had caught the Buhari presidency unawares posing 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”, a source disclosed to SIGNAL.
However, with Thursday’s discontinuance of the case, the case may have been finally laid to rest. An informed source who did not want to be named told SIGNAL on Thursday that news of the discontinuance of the case was greeted in Aso Rock with a huge sigh of relief. “Close aides and advisers of President Buhari breathed a huge sigh of relief when the news of the withdrawal of the case came. The case had been a big distraction for the Presidency as no one really knew where the pendulum of the law will swing. But with reports that the lawyer was threatened to withdraw the case, it may not really be over. This certificate issue may come back to haunt the President”, the source said.
SIGNAL has made attempts to contact Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe for comments. He was yet to respond to queries from our reporter at the time of this report.
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