WHY I STOPPED BUHARI FROM BEING PRESIDENT – JUSTICE ABDULLAHI
A former president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umar Faruk Abdullahi has opened up on the reason he stopped Muhammadu Buhari from becoming president despite being his secondary school classmate.
Abdullahi explained that even though he felt bad about passing a judgement that was not favourable to Buhari, he had to do it because it was his job.
In 2007 Buhari who contested under the party of the ANPP lost to Umaru Yar’Adua.
Buhari subsequently approached the Appeal Court to challenged Yar’Adua’s victory.
However, his case was struck out despite his old classmate being the then president of the Court of Appeal.
Speaking on the judgement during an interview with Daily Trust, Abdullahi lamented that the judgement ruined his relationship with Buhari as the former president constantly blamed him for not supporting his ambition.
He said “I stopped him from becoming president.
“I felt bad because I believed that if Buhari had been properly advised he wouldn’t have gone the way he went. Why should I even bother myself to go and explain to him? Justices do not explain reasons for their judgements, they just pass them. And after passing your judgement, you don’t have to explain to anybody. So I took that position not to explain to him.
“Initially, when we were going to sit, my wife then was the electoral commissioner in Edo State. I read it in an open court that my wife was with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and I would want to withdraw from the case. But both counsels on both sides said it was not enough reason, saying they knew what I could do, so I should please stay on. Then we went ahead.
“We finished that case; and during a conference we all agreed where it should go. On the eve that we were going to deliver the judgement, one of our colleagues, Justice Nsofor, who was part of the conference, came in looking worried. I asked what was the matter and he said he didn’t think he could go along with us. I told him that it was no reason to be unhappy as he was entitled to his judgement, after all, majority decision is always the judgement of the court. I said he could write his dissenting judgement and there won’t be a problem.
“Yes. I was the president of the Court of Appeal. We gave him all the latitude. The following day we went into the court and delivered our judgement. He also delivered his minority judgement and that was the end of the matter. I still want to believe that Buhari was not advised on this matter.”
Asked if he regretted his decision, Abdullahi said, “Yes; but we did our job as judges; we relied on facts, presentation and the law. We didn’t rely on our personal opinions. And as the head, I was just first among equals.
“I could not overrule. We had to go the way we had to go; and if I didn’t like it I could write my minority judgement. We all agreed, so why pin it on me? Was it because we were classmates and from the same state, and what have you?”He explained that Buhari blamed him for his loss and kept speaking about it in many places.