2019 Presidential Election: Why Buhari is Qualified to Contest – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has ruled that President Muhammadu Buhari was “eminently qualified” to contest the February 23 presidential election.

Buhari defeated Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the keenly contested poll.

Recall that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad had prepared the full judgment of the apex court. It was read by Justice John Okoro. This is to explain the decision of the apex court on the dismissal of Atiku’s petition challenging his reelection.

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The apex court had on October 30 dismissed the appeal by PDP and Atiku, affirming the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which held that Buhari possessed the requisite educational qualification to contest the poll.

Citing the constitution, the court held that what is only required for a candidate contesting the presidential election is secondary education even when the candidate does not possess the certificate.

By virtue of the provisions of the Constitution, it said a candidate who possesses a primary school certificate and has worked in the public or private service for a period not less than 10 years, and can read, write and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is qualified to contest.

It added that contrary to the contention of the appellants, Buhari did not submit false information about his educational qualification to INEC.

On the website, www.factsdontlie.ng which the appellants downloaded the results of the election which they claimed belonged to INEC, the apex court said it could not be proven to belong to the electoral agency.

It also ruled that the appellants failed to prove the alleged irregularities including overvoting and they merely dumped documents on the lower court without calling witnesses to demonstrate them.

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The Supreme Court also said that it was alarming that the appellants only called five polling unit agents across the entire polling units in the country in their attempt to prove the alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

More to come.

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