As the March 28, 2015 Presidential election draws nearer, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and one-time Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Chief Alphonsus Ubanesse Igbeke have gone to the Federal High Court Awka, Anambra State to stop the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari from contesting the forthcoming election on grounds of breaches of relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Electoral Act 2010.
In a Motion Exparte dated March 11, 2015, the plaintiffs through their lawyer, C. N. Nsobundu, and Emeka Nri-Ezedi Esq sought relief of the court headed by Justice M. I Abubakar, to serve General Buhari and INEC the originating summons and other processes in the suit.
In simple terms, APGA and Senator Igbeke are praying the court to halt the presidential ambition of General Buhari because in the form he submitted to INEC seeking to contest the 2015 Presidential Election, Buhari had indicated his interest to contest as the flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress Party (APCP) which the plaintiffs contend is not an existing political party in Nigeria today. The plaintiffs contend that the only party that bears a semblance of the platform that Buhari cited as the party he is standing election in is the All Progressives Congress (APC).
They are also praying the court to determine whether General Buhari who failed to show the proof that he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth in his INEC Form CF001 is qualified to vie for the office of president of Nigeria. The contention here is that in failing to attach his birth certificate to his INEC Form, Buhari had left a huge gap in his profile that makes people wonder whether he is truly a Nigerian.
The Plaintiffs also contend that General Buhari failed to attach any evidence of his purported educational qualifications to his INEC Form and consequently fell below the minimum standards for candidates standing election for the office of president.
APGA and Senator Igbeke are also praying the court to determine whether Buhari who “falsely” claimed in his Voter’s Card submitted alongside the INEC Form that he was public servant as at January 22nd 2011should not be disqualified from contesting the coming presidential election.
They further averred that the APC presidential candidate who deposed an affidavit at an Abuja High Court in November 2014 claiming that “All my academic qualifications documents as filled in my Presidential Form, President APC/100/2015 are currently with the Secretary Military Board as at the time of this affidavit,” ought to be disqualified from contesting the said election for lying on oath.
After hearing the Motion Exparte by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Justice Abubakar granted them leave to serve General Buhari with the originating summons and other processes in the suit, out of the jurisdiction of the court i.e be outside Anambra State and in Kaduna State. General Buhari will be served the processes at 4A & B Sultan Lane, Off Sultan Road, Kaduna while INEC will be served at INEC Office, House of Assembly Road, Awka.
Justice Abubakar also granted an order for the urgent hearing of the suit by abridging/limiting the time within which the defendants shall enter appearance and file their defence to the originating summons to 5 days and the time within which the plaintiffs shall file a reply to the defence to the originating summons to 3 days.
He also gave an order for the substituted serve of the Originating summons and other processes in the suit on the 1st defendant by publishing the processes in two Nigerian National Daily Newspapers to wit: SUN Newspaper and Vanguard Newspaper.
With this move, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has opened a new vista in the current efforts to deepen the Nigerian democratic process by asking the judiciary some hard-boiled questions on whether a candidate seeking the office of President can do so after making false claims and lying on oath.
The court has scheduled March 23, this year as return date for hearing the Exparte Motion.