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2023: Tinubu’s Candidacy In Jeopardy As Court Finally Fix Date To Hear Certificate Forgery Against Him

There is anxeity in the Bola Tinubu campaign organisation as the Federal High Court Abuja has fixed September 7, for the hearing of a legal suit seeking the disqualification of the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), from contesting the 2023 elections for allegedly presenting forged certificate.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed fixed the hearing, just as it granted an ex-parte order for substituted service on Tinubu, who had invaded personal service of court processes.

The case has now thrown Tinubu’s candidacy in the 2023 presidential election in jeopardy, as there are chances he may be disqualified if he loses.

The Plaintiffs, who are four chieftains of the APC, are asking the court to disqualify Tinubu from contesting or participating in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election as a candidate of All Progressives Congress on the grounds of false information he supplied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the presidential candidate of the party.

Counsel to the Plaintiff, Goddy Uche, told the court that substituted service has become necessary because all attempts to serve the presidential candidate have proved abortive as he cannot be reached.

The Vacation Judge, Justice Mohammed, in a brief ruling, ordered that the Court papers should be served on the National Secretariat of APC and that such service shall be deemed as having been properly served on Bola Tinubu.

He further adjourned the case to September 7, for a hearing.

In the suit, the plaintiffs had posed the following questions for determination: Whether having regard to the provision of sections 1 (3); 4(1)and 2; 14(1),(2)(a), and (c)and 42(1)(a)and (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended), the provision of section 29(5)of the Electoral Act, 2022 as enacted by the 4th Defendant which modified the provision section 31(5) of the Electoral Act,2010(as amended) is not ultra vires the 4th Defendant and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatever.

Whether having regard to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case Modibbo Vs Usman (2020) 3 NWLR(PT.1712)470 and the provision of section 137(1)(j) the 3rd Defendant has not presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the 1st Defendant and thereby disqualified from participating in the forthcoming 2023 Presidential General Election.

They also prayed that upon the favourable determination of the above questions, for the  following reliefs:

A declaration of the Court that the provision of section 29(5) of the Electoral Act,2022 is ultra vires the 4th Defendant and unconstitutional, null, void, and of no effect whatsoever.

An order of the Court striking out/striking down the provision of section 29(5) of the Electoral Act 2022 from the Electoral Act and the body of extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria same being ultra vires the 4th and 5th Defendants, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

A declaration that the 3rd Defendant has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the purpose of seeking to be elected into the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A declaration that the 3rd defendant stands disqualified from participating in the 2023 presidential election as a candidate of the 2nd Defendant has presented a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the purpose of seeking to be elected into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

An order disqualifying the 3rd Defendant from contesting or participating in the forthcoming 2023 Presidential general election as a candidate of the 2nd Defendant.

In a 33-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by Ibiang Miko Ibiang the plaintiffs averted that Tinubu falsely swore to an affidavit in 1999 in which he claimed to have attended St. Paul Aroloya Children Home School, Ibadan -1958-64 and Government College, Ibadan -1965-68 and presented same to INEC.

That the deposition had turned out to be false and that in order to conceal the falsity of the information he submitted to INEC, he had omitted to provide any information whatsoever relating to his primary and Secondary schools in his INEC form for the 2023 election.

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