President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed the ruling of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja who on May 26, 2016 dismissed his preliminary objection in a suit filed by an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr. Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe.
The president’s legal team, which endorsed the notice of appeal, is led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).
Others are Mr. Lateef O. Fagbemi (SAN), Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu (SAN), Kola Awodein (SAN), Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), Charles Edosomwan (SAN), Emeka Ngige (SAN), Femi Atoyebi (SAN), Femi Falana (SAN), Funke Aboyade (SAN), H.O. Afolabi (SAN), Muiz Banire (SAN), and 10 other counsel.
Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe had alleged that Buhari was unqualified to aspire to the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because he did not sit for the Cambridge West African School Certificate WASC) in 1961 as he claimed.
When the suit came up on May 26, Buhari in his preliminary objection challenged the mode of service of the originating summons on him, insisting that he ought to have been served at an address in Kaduna instead of by substituted means at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.
However, Justice Ademola, in his ruling, had held that it was incompetent and upheld the service of the originating court processes on Buhari.
The judge held that the service of the court’s processes on the president through the secretariat of the APC was proper.
The court was satisfied that if it was served on a senior officer of the APC at the national headquarters, it would be brought to Buhari’s attention.
Dissatisfied with this ruling, Buhari through his legal team filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division on seven grounds of appeal.
When contacted on the phone, the plaintiff, Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe said the president has the constitutional right of appeal and was within his rights to exercise it particularly since he had not yet submitted a defence to the substantive action and had filed nothing in defence of the merits of the case.
Meanwhile, the Principal Registrar of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Mr. Jane Egbo, has issued a summons to the parties to appear before her on Monday, June 13, 2016 to settle the records of the president’s appeal.
Also, a check at the Registry of the Federal High Court, Abuja confirmed that the plaintiff has filed an application to amend his originating summons to include prayers for the nullification of the election of Buhari, as he was not qualified ab initio to contest the election having contravened the Electoral Act and committed perjury in claiming to have had a WASC when he never even sat for the examination.
The plaintiff also wants to add prayers for the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Buhari and issue a fresh one to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who came second in the 2015 presidential election.
The plaintiff’s motion on notice for amendment of his originating summons has been served on all the defendants and will come up for hearing on Thursday, June 16, 2016.