The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal challenging the academic qualification presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to run for the 2019 presidential election.

The three-member panel of the appellate court presided over by Justice Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson had on Monday reserved judgment on the matter after listening to the argument canvassed by counsels to parties in the suit.

At the resumed sitting, counsel to the appellant, Mr. Ukpai Ukairo had insisted that Buhari was not educationally qualified to have stood for the presidential poll on the grounds that the required certificates were not attached to his form CF001 which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

However, lawyers to the 1st and 2nd respondents urged the court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and lacking merit.

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

He therefore 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.

On Friday, the panel, in a unanimous judgment affirmed the earlier verdict of the Federal High Court which had dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred and robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Delivering the judgment of the Court, Justice Mohammed Idris held that the matter had become statute-barred having not been filed within the 14 days the cause of action arose as stipulated under section 285(9) of the Nigerian Constitution.

He held that the cause of action arose on October 18, 2018 when Buhari submitted his Form CF00, Curriculum Vitae and a supporting affidavit to INEC having emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the party’s primaries. 

He noted that the appellants challenging the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court only filed their suit before the said lower court on November 5, 2018 which was outside the 14 days period from October 18, 2018.

The plaintiffs, Kalu Kalu, Labaran IsmaiI and Hassy Kyari el-Kuris had approached the appellate court asking it  to nullify and set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which declined to hear the suit they instituted.

The appellants had asked the court to reverse the judgment of Justice Ahmed Mohammed because the processes filed by  Buhari and used to strike out their suit were not competent.