Supreme Court dismissed appeal against Buhari’s qualification. Will the judgement affect Atiku’s case?

President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the President Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed an application seeking for the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari as the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 23 Presidential Election.

The petitioners, Kalu Agu, Labaran Ismail, Hassy  El-Kunis, had alleged that Buhari submitted false information regarding his educational qualifications to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice Mary Peter-Odili led five-man panel struck out the case, saying that the case was statute-barred as earlier ruled by the Appeal Court and the Federal High Court.

The petitioners lawyer, Ukpai Ukairo, had however withdrew the 12 grounds appeal before the apex court.

The apex court however berated President Muhammadu Buhari’s use of government lawyer for a private case.

Abdullahi Abubakar, the lawyer who represented President Buhari, was from the Ministry of Justice.

The apex court noted that the government lawyer’s appearance for Buhari’s private case was like the president using public resources for his private business.

“The court notes the inappropriate appearance of Mr Abdullahi Abubakar, a  state counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice, representing the first respondent  Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) in his personal capacity,” Justice Odili said.

“This practice must be discouraged,” she added.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), filed same qualification issue against President Buhari at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

Buhari had under oat alleged that his certificates were with the military. But it appears to have been established with his witness at the PEPT corroborating that “there is no such thing” as keeping certificates with the army.

Consequently, Atiku and PDP accused Buhari of lying under oat over the location of his certificate, saying that if the certificates were with the military, why didn’t he drive down to the military headquarters to obtain them.

Will the decision of the Appeal Court to dismiss this similar application influence Atiku’s case against Buhari at the PEPT? Nigerians wait patiently to hear the verdict of the Presidential Tribunal led by Justice Garba Mohammed.

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