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Court reserves judgment in suit challenging Buhari’s academic qualifications

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday reserved judgment in the appeal filed against President Muhammadu Buhari’s academic qualification for the 2019 presidential election.

A three-member panel of the court, led by Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson, after taking arguments from parties in respect of the appeals, said they would be informed when the judgments are ready.

During the court session on Monday, the counsel representing the appellant, Ukpai Ukairo, insisted Mr Buhari was not educationally qualified to have stood for the presidential poll.

He said the required certificates were not attached to his form CF001, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for clearance to contest for the election.

Mr Ukairo opposed the claim that the suit of the appellant was ‘statute-barred’.

He added that the case was instituted on November 5, 2018, ”within the 14 days allowed by law”.

He said the course of action started with the announcement and publication by INEC of successful candidates for the 2019 general election on October 25, 2018.

Mr Ukairo, therefore, urged the court to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the Federal High Court on the grounds of miscarriage of justice.

He asked the court to nullify Mr Buhari’s participation in the February 23 presidential election because he was not educational qualified for the poll at the time he did.

However, lawyers to the first and second respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking merit.

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Mr Buhari’s counsel, Abdullahi Abubakar, told the court that the case of the appellant was statute-barred having not been filed within the mandatory period stipulated by the law.

Mr Abubakar urged the court to uphold the decision of the Federal High Court to the effect that the suit was not filed in line with the position of the law.

Arguing in the same vein, the counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Babatunde Ogala, urged the court to dismiss the appeal. The counsel to INEC, Onyeri Anthony, said the commission is neutral and would abide by the decision of the court.

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