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Buhari To Be Disqualified On March 19?



The presidential candidate from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, may be banned from contesting the forthcoming presidential poll.
According to Vanguard, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, fixed March 19 to commence hearing on seven separate suits.
However, both Buhari and his party, who are respondents in the matter together with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), maintained that they would not agree to accept the service of the court procedures which they said were not authentically served on them.
They questioned the propriety of Justice Adeniyi’s orders which had enabled the accusers to serve the original summons on them indirectly.
Justice Adeniyi had on February 2, directed that the court processes be served on the defendants by publishing them in three national daily newspapers.
The court also granted an order of synopsis of time within which the defendants must respond to the suits, although both Buhari and his party contended that there was no urgency for the court to hear the suits.
Thus, in separate preliminary objections filed by counsel to Buhari, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and that of the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, they called on the court to set-aside all the instructions it has made in the matter so far.
They further argued that the subject matter of the suit affects pre-election issues which they said are not time bound, adding that it can be determined even after the March 28 presidential poll.
But Chief Mike Ozehkome, SAN, who represented the accusers yesterday, advised the court to advance hearing on the matter so as to determine Buhari’s fate before the presidential election.
His proposal enraged Buhari’s lawyer, Olanipekun, SAN, who contended that the suit challenging the certificate his client submitted to the INEC, has nothing to do with the election itself.
“My lord what he is saying is that this case must end before this election. It is a wrong impression. This case has nothing to do with the conduct of the election. What if the presidential election was held on February 14?”, Olanipekun queried.
Similarly, the INEC through its lawyer Hassan Liman, SAN, yesterday, said it would file a initial objection to challenge both the capability of the suits which were filed by the two plaintiffs, Chukwunweike Okafor and Max Ozoaka, as well as the jurisdiction of the court to entertain them.
According to the Guardian, there were about 15 awaiting cases against Buhari bordering on his supposed disqualification, certificate forgery and perjury.
But hearing in several out of many suits was stalled due to his failure to serve his written address on the plaintiffs in the matter.
It should be noted that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal reserved its judgment concerning the President Goodluck Jonathan’s eligibility to contest the presidential election in March.
President Jonathan is the key opponent of the opposition candidate General Buhari in coming poll.

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