Certificate saga: Buhari’s in-law asks court to disqualify Adamawa gov, Bindow, ahead guber poll

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The legal battle started by President Muhammadu Buhari’s in-law, Dr Halilu Modi, seeking to disqualify Adamawa State governor, Muhammadu Jibirilla Bindo as the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has shifted to Abuja.

The plaintiff who was the first runner up in the disputed party primaries is challenging the academic credentials of the incumbent governor.

The suit which was first filed in Abuja was transferred to the Yola division of the Federal High Court before Justice Abdulaziz Anka. Its case file was sent back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati for re- assignment to another Judge.

He took the decision after he had announced his withdrawal from adjudicating on the matter on personal grounds.

Specifically, the suit is seeking the disqualification of governor Bindo from contesting the forthcoming governorship election in the state on the grounds that he did not complete his secondary education at the Government Secondary School, Mangu, Plateau State, as claimed.

Among the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs is an order compelling the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to produce the result of the governor.

Apart from Governor Bindow, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), West African Examination Council (WAEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) were also joined as defendants.

Besides, Governor Bindow was alleged to have forged his Secondary school certificate, prompting a rights group, Global Crusade Integrity Network (GICN) to file a case before an Abuja Federal High Court in September last year claiming that the governor was using a forged certificate.

Before hearing the case, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had warned parties to the suit against actions that are capable of dragging the integrity of the court through the mud.

His warning was against the backdrop of the fact that parties in the suit were engaged in name dropping and making comments that they have the Judge on their side.

Justice Mohammed who frowned at what he referred to as “unfortunate development,” consequently threatened to send the case file to the Chief Judge for re-assignment to another Judge unless counsels to both parties decide otherwise.

But counsel to Governor Bindo, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), expressed the confidence that his client was the court while urging Justice Mohammed to proceed with the case after condemning the development.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Obong Akpan, as well as well as that of the APC, Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), Taminu Inuwa (SAN) and others, joined in expressing their confidence in the court, asking it to proceed with the case.

However, an application by the Registered Trustees for Centre for Reform and Advocacy to be joined in the proceeding as a co-defendant and other applications stalled the hearing of the case.

The application form was filed by Kalu Onuoha on behalf of the group.

Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned to February 4 at the instance of counsel to APC, Bawa, as well as counsel to the applicants seeking to be joined. Onuoha prayed for time to file their respective responses to the counter affidavit of the plaintiff’s counsel.

The plaintiff’s counsel who had while opposing the application for adjournment urged the court to take into consideration the nature of the case which he said was time bound.

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