By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA- President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, maintained that no law in Nigeria required that he must produce his certificates to prove his eligibility to vie for presidency.
While adopting his final brief of argument in opposition to the petition the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, filed to nullify his re-election, President Buhari, argued that under the 1999 Constitution, he was only required to be educated.
He therefore urged the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja to dismiss the petition challenging his election and his educational qualifications, with substantial court, saying it lacked merit and substance.
“The law is well settled and the case-law is crystalized on the point that the 2nd Respondent (Buhari) cannot go beyond provisions of sections 131 and 131(8) of the 1999 Constitution.
“The case-law is replete with decisions of this Court on the subject. We cannot amend the constitution.
“We need to make it very clear at this point that the Constitution and laws of the land do not expect any Certificate to be tendered or attached”, Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, submitted.
Buhari further relied on a recent judgement the Court of Appeal delivered in a Certificate scandal case that involved the governorship candidate of the PDP in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, to contend that non-attachment of his certificates, was not a valid ground to challenge his participation in the February 23 presidential election he won.
On their part, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, through their lawyers, Prince Lateef Fagbami, SAN, and Yunus Usman, SAN, also asked the Justice Mohammed Garba-led tribunal to dismiss the petition with cost.
APC said it would be bad to create a public impression that President Buhari lacks basic educational qualifications.
“Those who set the standard for secondary education where called. They came and gave the verdict that what the 2nd Respondent has was equivalent to Secondary School Certificate. The witness said so. And there was no follow-up on that. They did not say that the certificate was fake or forged.
“The position is that we take him to be a secondary school leaver”, Fagbemi, SAN, argued.
The Justice Garba-led panel would after all the parties have adopted their final addresses, reserve the petition for judgement.
More details soon…