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Friday, 1 July 2016

Eligibility Suit for 2015 Presidential Election as Plaintiff Withdraws Suit



The federal high court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, struck out a suit challenging the veracity of the academic credentials of the president.
The plaintiff, a legal practitioner, Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe, filed a notice at the court to discontinue the suit.
Justice Ademola Adeniyi of a Federal High Court, Abuja, Thursday, struck out the suit challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s eligibility for the 2015 presidential election on the ground that he did not have prerequisite qualification to contest the election.
This followed the ‘notice of discontinuance’ filed by the plaintiff, Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe.
When the case came up Thursday, Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe declared his intention to withdraw the suit without giving any reason.
Justice Adeniyi in a bench ruling, said Order 50(2) of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, gives him the right to cease further hearing on the matter, saying once a plaintiff gives notice of discontinuance, he was bound to strike the suit out.
The suit which was filed before the 2015 presidential election, joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the All Progressives Congress (APC), as co defendants.
Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe had alleged that Buhari was not qualified to contest the 2015 presidential election as he did not sit for the Cambridge West African School Certificate WASC) in 1961 as he claimed.
The plaintiff had sought, among others, “a declaration that the averment/statement by the 3rd defendant, General Muhammad Buhari (Rtd), GCFR, in his affidavit sworn to on November 24, 2014 at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, that all his academic qualification documents as filled in his Presidential Nomination Form No. President APC/001/2015 are currently with the Secretary, Military Board as at the time of deposing to the affidavit, is false.
“A declaration that neither the Nigeria Army nor any of its organs is in possession of the Primary Six School Certificate or the West African School Certificate of the 3rd defendant, General Muhammadu Buhari, Rtd, GCFR. M
“A declaration that the false averments/statements by the 3rd defendant in his affidavit in support of personal particulars (INEC Form C.F. 001) that he has fulfilled all requirements for qualification to the office of president and also in his affidavit sworn to on November 24, 2014 at the High Court of the FCT Abuja, to the effect that all his academic qualification documents as filled in his presidential nomination form No. President APC/001/2015, are currently with the Secretary, Military Board, disqualifies him from standing election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pursuant to the provisions of section 31(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.
“A declaration that the 3rd defendant did not provide any proof or evidence in his INEC Nomination Form for office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria [Form E.C. 4B (i)], its accompanying documents and affidavit in support, submitted by him to the 1st defendant (INEC) that he is qualified to contest for election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in line with the qualification criteria set out in section 131(d) of the 199 constitution, as amended.
As well as, “a declaration that the 3rd defendant was not qualified to stand for and contest the election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the 2015 general election for making false statement to INEC in breach of the provisions of section 31(6) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and failure to attach proof to his nomination form that he has attained educational qualifications to qualify to contest election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as set out in section 131(d) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
More so, the plaintiff prayed for an order invalidating the candidature of President Buhari in respect of the 2015 general elections, as well as an order directing INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to him. He equally wanted “an order directing INEC to issue a new Certificate of Return to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, being the candidate who came second in the 2015 Presidential Elections”.
Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe had argued that there was no organ, institution, agency, department or authority known as and called the “Military Board” existing in Nigeria as at November 24, 2014, when President Buhari deposed an affidavit before the Abuja High Court.

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