A Federal High Court in Lagos gave three reasons for discharge of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP)’s suit that sought to disqualify Senator Adetokunbo Abiru All Progressives Congress (APC) from continuing to represent Lagos East.
Justice Chuka Obiozor held that the PDP’s case was statute-barred; adding that residency and indigeneship were not disqualifying factors under the constitution and neither was the issue of registration or double registration.
The judge, in a five-hour judgment on Monday, upheld Abiru’s argument through his counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) that the PDP’s case was statute-barred, having not been brought within 14 days as contemplated under Section 285 of the Constitution.
Abiru won last December 5 senatorial by-election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against PDP’s Ademola Gbadamosi, who polled 11,257 votes.
The APC chieftain has since been sworn in.
But in the suit, his eligibility to contest was challenged by the PDP and Gbadamosi, who were first and second plaintiffs.
The challengers, through their lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, sought to disqualify Abiru on the grounds of alleged wrong residency and indigeneship and double voter registration.
But in its judgment, the court agreed with Pinheiro and APC’s counsel Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN that the issue of residency and indigeneship are not disqualifying factors under the constitution.
Justice Obiozor said: “I hold that nomination and sponsorship of a candidate for elective office is within the domain of a party; it is an aspirant within the political party that can complain and not anybody from another party.”
On the issue of nomination, Justice Obiozor noted that the PDP and Gbadamosi “erroneously thought that the cause of action accrued on September 17, 2020 when the INEC published the final list of successful candidates for election.
“I agreed with the counsel to 2nd defendant Kemi Pinheiro SAN that the cause of action accrued on the 13th when the name was submitted against the erroneous argument of the plaintiff by it counsel Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN that the cause of action accrued on the 17th when the Independent Natioanl Electoral Commission (INEC) rolled out the name of the successful candidates.
“The plaintiff also alleged double registration, which cannot be the basis for disqualifying a candidate going by principle in Agi vs PDP.
“This issue is also resolved in favour of the defendant against the plaintiff.
“I hold that this suit lacks merit and same is hereby dismissed.”
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