By Wandoo Sombo
Counsel to All Progressives Congress (APC) in the suit seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari, from the Feb. 16 presidential election, Mr Gani Arobo, has asked the court to consolidate all similar suits.
When the matter came up on Thursday before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Arobo told the judge that justice would be better served if all the suits were consolidated.
“My lord, we have an application with respect to the consolidation of all these matters. We have several of these matters in regards to the same subject matter in different courts, there is one before Justice Binta Nyako, one in Port Harcourt and another one before this court.
“We have made an application to the Chief Judge of the court to consolidate all these matters; We need to consolidate to prevent a situation where we will have conflicting judgments on the same subject matter at the end of the day.”
Arobo thereafter asked for an adjournment to enable him to finalise the process of consolidating the suits.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Godwin Haruna, opposed the call for consolidation of the cases, saying it was a delay tactic as there was nothing before the court to show that similar suits existed.
“Saying that there are several cases with the same subject matter seeking the same reliefs in different courts is mere speculation.
” In the interest of justice, counsel should furnish the court with the evidence that such other cases are in the courts he mentioned.”
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, before ruling, said that he was aware of a similar case even before him.
He noted that it was in no one’s interest to have such cases scattered in different courts.
The judge said that if such was allowed, it would be the judiciary that would be brought to ridicule as different judges would give judgments based on the facts before them.
He, however, noted that it was only the chief judge that had the powers to consolidate the suits.
He adjourned the matter until Feb. 14 for hearing unless otherwise directed by the chief judge.
The plaintiffs, Mr Kalu Agu, Mr Labaran Ismail and Mr Hassy El-Kuris, filed the suit alleging that Buhari lied in his Form CF 001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regarding his educational qualification.
They asked the court to disqualify Buhari from presenting himself and or contesting for the Office of President in the 2019 general elections.
The suit which was filed on their behalf by Mr Okpai Ukiro, has Buhari, APC and INEC as first, second and third defendants respectively.