Court opens hearing today in suit querying Atiku’s claim to be Nigerian
By Eric Ikhilae
A Federal High Court in Abuja will today open hearing in a suit querying former vice president Atiku Abubakar’s claim to being a Nigerian by birth.
The suit, before Justice Inyang Ekwo, seeks a pronouncement to the effect that Atiku was not qualified to contest the February 23 presidential election as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The plaintiff, Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, wants the court to disqualify Atiku over alleged circumstances surrounding his citizenship.
The Mission wants the court to interpret the provision of Sections 25 (1) & (2) and 131 (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Listed as defendants are: the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney- General of the Federation.
The plaintiff, in a supporting affidavit, 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.”
The plaintiff 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?