A Lagos-based lawyer, Itesede Okhai, has approached the Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking an order disqualifying President Muhammadu Buhari from contesting the 2019 presidential election.
The lawyer, in his suit marked, FHC/L/CS/1765/18, contended that Buhari had not met the legal requirements to stand for election, because the President did not submit his secondary school certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The lawyer is urging the court to declare that the sworn affidavit which Buhari submitted to INEC, stating that his certificate was in the custody of the Nigerian Army, was not enough.
Okhai is praying the court to declare Buhari’s sworn affidavit null and void, contending that “it could not stand as a substitute to President Buhari’s certificate or take the place of the evidence of President Buhari’s educational qualification as a requirement and condition precedent in INEC Form CF001.”
The lawyer wants the court to restrain INEC, which was joined in the suit as the second defendant, from allowing Buhari to contest the election, having allegedly failed to meet the relevant requirements of the Electoral Act.
He is seeking a declaration that by the combined provisions of sections 31(1), 2 and 5 of the Electoral Act, Cap 15, 2010, Buhari, having failed to attach his secondary school certificate to the forms he submitted to INEC, was bound to be disqualified from the presidential race.
In an affidavit personally deposed to by himself, the lawyer said he recalled that Buhari made the same claim in 2014 while seeking to be elected as President, that his certificate was in the custody of the Secretary of the Military Board.
According to him, in response to Buhari’s claim, the Nigerian Army, through its spokesman, Brig Gen Olaleye Olajide, at a press conference held on January 20, 2015, stated that the Nigerian military was not in possession of Buhari’s certificates evidencing his educational qualification.
Okhai, in his affidavit, said he “reasonably believed that President Buhari has lied on oath where he claimed that his educational certificates are with the Nigerian Military Board.”
He urged the court to stop Buhari from contesting the next year’s presidential election.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, has yet to be assigned to any judge and no date has been fixed.