The hearing of a suit seeking to disqualify Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), from contesting the presidential election has been fixed for Monday, February 25, two days after the exercise. It was learnt that the suit was filed by incorporated trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and would be heard by Justice I E Ekwo of court 6. The Nation reports that the group wants Atiku disqualified over alleged circumstances surrounding his citizenship.
The group wants an interpretation of sections 25 (1) & (2) and 131 (a) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). It was learnt that the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Attorney- General of the Federation and minister of justice were added as defendants in the suit. Other areas the suit wants the court to look into include: 1. Whether Section 25 of the constitution is the sole authority that spells out ways by which a person can become a Nigerian citizen by birth? 2.
Whether by the provisions of Section 131 (a) of the constitution, only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of president? 3. Whether by the combined interpretation of sections 25 (1) & (2) and 131 (a) of the constitution and given the circumstances surrounding the birth of Alhaji Atiku, he can be cleared by PDP and INEC to contest for office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? “That from Atiku’s own testimony that is gazetted and published in most national dailies in circulation, he is from Jada town in Adamawa and Jada used to be in Ganye local government area in Adamawa.
“That Ganye is regarded as the mother of the whole Chamba tribe and was never part of Nigeria legally as at the date of birth of Atiku. “That none of Atiku’s parents or grandparents was born in Nigeria and his father died a citizen of Northern Cameroon in 1957 prior to the referendum of June 1, 1961, that made Northern Cameroon a part of Nigeria,” the group argued in an affidavit it deposed to.