This Day reports that President Muhammadu Buhari is not satisfied with the ruling of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja who on May 26, 2016 dismissed his preliminary objection in a suit filed against him by an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe. Buhari, through his legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has appealed the ruling.
He filed a notice of appeal at the Abuja judicial division of the appellate court on seven grounds of appeal. Other members of the president’s legal team are Lateef O. Fagbemi (SAN), Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu (SAN), Kola Awodein (SAN), Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), Charles Edosomwan (SAN), Emeka Ngige (SAN), Femi Atoyebi (SAN), Femi Falana (SAN), Funke Aboyade (SAN), H.O. Afolabi (SAN), Muiz Banire (SAN), and 10 other counsel.
In February 2015, Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe filed a suit challenging the competence of Buhari to stand election into the office of president of Nigeria when he lacks the basic educational qualifications set out in the Constitution. He prayed the court to among others declare that Buhari is unqualified to aspire to the position of president because he did not sit for the Cambridge West African School Certificate (WASC), in 1961 as he claimed.
When the suit came up on May 26, Buhari in his preliminary objection challenged the mode of service of the originating summons on him. He insisted that he ought to have been served at an address in Kaduna instead of by substituted means at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja. In his ruling, Justice Ademola upheld the service of the originating court processes on Buhari, saying the court processes of serving him was proper.
When contacted, the plaintiff, Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe said the president has the constitutional right to appeal and was within his rights to exercise it. Meanwhile, checks at the registry of the Federal High Court, Abuja showed that the plaintiff has filed an application to amend his originating summons to include prayers for the nullification of the election of Buhari.
He also wants to add prayers for the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Buhari and issue a fresh one to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who came second in the 2015 presidential election. The plaintiff’s motion on notice for amendment of his originating summons has been served on all the defendants and will come up for hearing on Thursday, June 16, 2016.
In the build up to the 2015 presidential election, Nigerians were buffeted with claims and counter-claims regarding Buhari’s qualification to contest for the office of president. There was clamor over the inability of Buhari to produce his WASC certificate.
The certificate saga took another dimension after the Nigerian army which claimed it had the certificate later retracted its statement saying the certificate was not in its possession. However, after the winning the election, reports surfaced that the Nigerian Army found the missing certificate.