A group known as the Egalitarian Mission for Africa has filed a suit before the federal high court in Abuja challenging the qualification of Atiku Abubakar to contest in the presidential election.
The group’s chairman is Olukayode Ajulo, former national secretary of Labour Party who recently declared his support for Atiku’s opponent, President Muhammadu Buhari, in the presidential election.
In the suit, a copy of which was obtained by TheCable, the group said Atiku, who is presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not a citizen of Nigeria by birth and as such not fit to contest in election.
Ajulo is also the lead counsel in the application filed on Tuesday.
Joined as second, third and fourth defendants are the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation respectively.
The group argued that when Atiku was born November 25, 1946, “Jada village and other parts of Chamba land in the then Northern Cameroon were still known as British Cameroons.”
They said “none of the 1st defendant’s parents or grandparents was born in Nigeria” and that Atiku’s father “died a citizen of Northern Cameroon in 1957 prior the referendum of June 1, 1961 that made Northern Cameroon became part of Nigeria.”
They asked the court to determine whether section 25 of the 1999 constitution is “the sole authority that spells out ways by which a person can become a Nigerian citizen by birth” and whether by the provisions of section 131(a) of the constitution, “only a Nigeria citizen by birth can contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Among the prayers sought before the court by the group include: “A declaration that by the provisions of Section 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“A declaration that by the combined interpretation of Sections 25(1) & (2) and 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and giving the circumstances surrounding the birth of the 1st Defendant, he cannot be cleared by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
No date has been fixed for hearing of the application filed just five days to the presidential election.
There was a rash of law suits against Buhari before the 2015 elections, one alleging that he presented a forged secondary school certificate.
But none was determined before the elections.