Presidential aspirant sues INEC, seeks Buhari’s disqualification over certificate controversy
The plaintiff, who sought for the interpretation of section 131(d) and 137(1)(j) of the Constitution and section 31(2), (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) asked the court to declare that an affidavit by a candidate, stating that his credentials and certificates are with his former employers or any other third party is not a satisfaction of the requirement to submit to the defendant copies of certificates and credentials claimed in the prescribed form.
He also asked the court to declare that the defendant is bound to recognize as false such affidavit by a person who is presented by a political party as its candidate for the office of President where the same affidavit had been presented repeatedly by the same person in past successive elections for the same office.
Consequently, the plaintiff is asking the court to declare the person who has been presented to the defendant by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its candidate for the office of President in the 2019 election, named as Muhammadu Buhari stands disqualified to contest the 2019 presidential election.
Accompanied with a 14-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Emeka Eke, a litigation manager in the firm of the plaintiff, the deponent averred that has personal knowledge of the case because the plaintiff is his boss.
He swore that the plaintiff was asked to attach copies of certificates as evidence of his qualification when he filled the prescribed form by the defendant and he complied.
“Searching through the copies of the affidavit and information that were obtained from the defendant in accordance with section 31 (4) of the Electoral Act, I discovered that a certain Muhammadu Buhari who has been presented by the All Progressives Congress political party as its candidate for the office of President for the 2019 general election did not attach to the form any such certificates in evidence of the academic qualifications which he claimed in satisfaction of the provisions of section 131(1)(d) of the Constitution.
“The said Muhammadu Buhari has in lieu of such copies of certificates or credentials that he claimed in qualification for the office of President attached an affidavit in which he deposed that the credentials he lays claim to are with the Secretary of the Military Board.
“I know, and it is a matter of public notoriety that in previous elections in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, the same Muhammadu Buhari presented similar affidavits to the defendant making the same claim but has not produced or caused to be produced to the defendant the claimed credentials from the Military Board or Military Authorities and, indeed, the present affidavit is the same as the one that he presented to the defendant in 2015,” he averred.
The deponent declared that military authorities through Brigadier-General Olajide Laleye, who was then Director of Army Public Relations, in a well publicized news conference did reject and disavow Buhari’s affidavit and did set the record straight that no such certificates was in their possession.
He therefore swore that the affidavit is false and cannot be substantiated, adding that Buhari had by his action presented forged certificates to the defendant.
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