A group, the Incorporated Trustees of Advocacy for Societal Rights Advancement and Development Initiative on Tuesday approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking to stop the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, from swearing-in the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, as president on May 29.
The group joined Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) as co-respondents, respectively, in the suit.
Mr Philip Ekpo, the group’s counsel, who filed the suit, argued that Buhari did not meet the mandatory academic qualifications stipulated in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act to have contested the position of the president of Nigeria at the 2015 general elections.
Ekpo, in his originating summons, urged the court to declare that the information contained in Buhari’s Form C.F.001 stating that his educational qualification was the West African School Leaving Certificate (WASC) and that same was with the Secretary to the Military Board, amounted to False Information.
He also urged the court to hold that the information contained in Buhari’s Affidavit deposed to on 24th November, 2014 stating that his West African School Leaving Certificate (WASC) was with the Secretary to the Military Board amounted to False Information.
Ekpo also prayed the court to declare that the 3rd Defendant be stopped from swearing in the 1st Defendant as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the allegation of perjury involving the 1st Defendant had not been resolved.
He also sought a restraining order stopping the 3rdDefendant, or any person appointed for such purpose, from swearing in the 1st Defendant as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29th May, 2015 or any future dates whatsoever, for giving False Information to the 2nd Respondent on oath.
The plaintiff’s counsel also sought an order annulling the Certificate of Return given to the 1st Defendant by the 2nd Defendant.
The group asked for an order of interim injunction restraining the 3rd Respondent or any person acting in his capacity from swearing in the 1st Respondent as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29th, 2015, or any other date thereof, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.
The plaintiff contended that the 1st Respondent gave false information in the Affidavit he presented to the 2nd Respondent and on the strength of which he contested and purportedly won the presidential election which was conducted by the 2nd Respondent on 28th March, 2015.
It argued that the 1st Respondent deposed to an Affidavit dated 24th November, 2014 that his West African School Leaving Certificate was in the custody of the Secretary to the Military Board
The group said the Nigerian Army on 20th January, 2015, however, said that in the personal file of the 1st Respondent with the Nigerian Army, they did not have the original copy of his West African School Leaving Certificate (WASC), the Certified True Copy of his WASC results or a photocopy of the said result.
Ekpo further argued that the 1st Respondent had not met the qualifications enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act, Cap E6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010 (as amended) to have contested the position of President of Nigeria at the 2015 general elections.
According to the group’s counsel, the authority conferred by Section 140 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) on the 3rd Respondent to administer oath of office to any person who will occupy the office of the President of Nigeria cannot be exercised in respect of the 1st Respondent who had not fulfilled the requirements of the same Constitution and the Electoral Act as it relates to his eligibility to occupy the office of President of Nigeria.
The case which was filed on Tuesday, with barely 72 hours to Buhari’s inauguration, has yet to be assigned to a judge.