The Supreme Court has given reasons for dismissing the appeal by Atiku Abubakar and the PDP challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 presidential election.
The seven-member panel held that Section 31(8) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 held “education up to secondary school level is sufficient without actual possession of the certificate.
In a lead judgement by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad read by Justice Inyang Okoro on Friday, the apex court said based on on Cambridge, WAEC certificates and group photograph of Katsina Provincial Secondary School tendered by Buhari, “I am satisfied to hold that the court below was right to rely on the certificates to hold that the second respondent (Buhari) was eminently qualified.
The panel held that the qualifications for office could be any alternative to school certificate, including 10 years experience in public service and attendance of professional training, adding that the use of ‘or’ instead of ‘and’ in Section 31(8) is disjunctive rather than conjunctive, “which means each can stand on its own.
The apex court also said the appellant should have presented 250, 000 witnesses before the 2019 election tribunal to prove its case. The court said there were two main issues seeking interpretation regarding the PDP’s petition.
The court said the first issue bothered on an alleged non-compliance to the Electoral Act, while the second issue related to the question of whether or not Mr Buhari qualified to take part in the election.
Regarding the allegations of non-compliance, the court said the PDP had a responsibility, not only to provide witnesses but to do so sufficiently to support its allegations. “The appellant cannot just call witnesses.
He has to call witnesses who are eyewitnesses and he may have to call 250, 000 witnesses,” said Justice John Okoro. The PDP called 62 witnesses before closing its case are the Tribunal on July 19.