Some governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) met on Thursday night on how to push for criminal charges against the former Head of State.
The new move follows the sudden realisation that the case filed against the eligibility of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, may not be decided in their favour, after all.
Very reliable sources informed our correspondent in Abuja on Friday that he governors are frantically looking for evidence against Buhari to stop him from contesting the March 28 presidential election.
Part of the plan, one of the sources said, might be instigated by the governors to write a petition to the Inspector General of Police, IGP , Suleiman Abba urging him to look into allegations of forgery and perjury against Buhari.
The PDP had said that Buhari claimed to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that his West Africa School Certificate was with the military authorities but that with the latter denying that it had the certificate, Buhari has committed perjury.
The governors, it was further learnt, may also ask the IGP to revisit the PTF report, an intervention agency set up by the regime of late Head of State General Sani Abacha and headed by Buhari.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo later investigated the agency, but found nothing against Buhari. Last month, Obasanjo gave the APC candidate a clean bill while running the PTF.
The affected governors were said to be uncomfortable that legal advice had pointed to likely loss of all cases against Buhari’s eligibility and had a session in Abuja on Thursday night resolved on how to “stop Buhari” at all cost.
They were said to be disappointed that “presumption of innocence” is heavily in favour of Buhari.
“Some PDP governors and some forces against Buhari have received in-depth legal advice, indicating that all the suits against Buhari are mere academic exercises.
“These governors, who met in Abuja on Thursday, have become frustrated. They are looking for any shred of evidence to level criminal charges against Buhari.
“They have realized that without concrete facts and evidence, they cannot get any fiat to prosecute Buhari and stop him from contesting.”
Another source said: “The governors and some forces are plotting to cook up frivolous allegations which they will present in a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, to enable the police investigate Buhari.
“You can see that these forces are working on Plan B to disqualify Buhari to scuttle the rescheduled general elections.
“They know that there is no way they can disqualify Buhari without creating crisis nationwide.”
As at press time, it was gathered that no petition has been submitted to the police.
A police source said that “If there are issues against Buhari, we have to subject these to thorough investigation which cannot be conducted overnight. And investigation of any kind takes time.”
But a reliable source in the APC said going by legal precedents, those behind eligibility suits against Buhari are wasting their time.
“Whatever plot they are planning, we will rise to the challenge. It is just unfortunate that they want to win election through the backdoor.
“They are just afraid of going to the poll with Buhari. We know that since they postponed the elections, they must be working on some mischief.
“Going by the security siege on APC leaders and telephone bugging, they are building up a new plot. If you look at Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution, Buhari is eminently qualified to contest the presidential election.”
Section 131 says: “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth; (b) he has attained the age of forty (40) years; (c )he is a member of a political party; and (d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
“In Section 318, School Certificate or equivalent means (a) a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or (b) education up to Secondary School Certificate level; or
“(c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and (i) service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) for a minimum of 10 years; and
“(ii) attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling up to a minimum of one year, and
“(iii) the ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English Language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC); and (d) Any other qualification acceptable by the INEC.
PDP governors in the north are uncomfortable with Buhari in the race. Their fear is that they may not realise their second term or senatorial ambition with the general in the race.