Nigeria’s opposition People’s Democratic Party has won its first legal battle in its quest to remove President Muhammadu Buhari from power for his failure to show proof he completed high school.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has said the country should forgive the President because it’s been more than 50 years since he completed secondary school, and does not remember where he kept his certificates.
Mr Buhari, who has repeatedly failed to show he completed high school, has continually submitted affidavits to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to run in 2015 and in 2019.
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He first claimed that he lost his certificates to a fire, then that he gave them to the military and finally that he may have lost them when his house was attacked during a coup in 1985. The reason kept changing and the certificates were never found in any record.
On Wednesday, the Presidential Election Tribunal dismissed the argument by the electoral body, INEC, that the complaints by the opposition PDP against Buhari’s academic qualification for the 2019 election was a pre-election matter and should be dismissed.
The PDP has argued that President Buhari did not meet the minimum educational requirements to run for President.
Online newspaper, Premium Times, reported after the tribunal ruling on Wednesday that “the head of the tribunal, Mr Mohammed, while addressing the issues ruled that Section 138 (1) (a) of the Electoral Act allows for the filing of petition relating to an allegation of false information”.
The tribunal said it was within its powers to entertain the application and determine the details contained in the petition.
“I am of the view that the contents of section 138 (1)does not fall in the category of a pre-election matter,” he said.
“Although the issue relates to a matter that happened before the election, the issues relate to vital points that cannot be relegated just to a pre-election matter.”
The tribunal dismissed the application, with all other members of the panel not objecting to the lead ruling, the report said.
The ruling would gladden Atiku Abubakar who has argued that President Buhari did not have the required education to run and then brazenly rigged the election last February.