Citizenship: Suit to disqualify Atiku for Monday

Atiku Abubakar

PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar

A Suit to disqualify the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, from contesting the presidential election is to be heard on Monday.

The suit filed by Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa before the Federal High Court, Abuja, will be heard by Hon. Justice I. E. Ekwo of Court 6.

 Atiku Abubakar
PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar

However, the hearing will be done two days after the presidential election, which is rescheduled for February 23.

According to the group, Atiku should be disqualified over alleged circumstances surrounding his citizenship.

The suit, which was filed on February 11, is seeking an interpretation of Sections 25 (1) & (2) and 131 (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

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The group named the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as defendants in the suit.

It also wants the court to determine the following questions, viz:

*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?

*whether by the provisions of Section 131 (a) of the constitution, only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of president?

*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?

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In the suit, the plaintiff said if the court resolves the issues in its favour, it should declare that by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for president.

In an affidavit deposed in support of the plaintiff’s action, the deponent averred that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946 in Cameroon.

“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.

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“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.”

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