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PDP loses appeal to disqualify Sen Adetokunbo Abiru

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Lagos Chapter has lost its appeal, seeking to disqualify Senator Adetokunbo Abiru of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from continuing to represent Lagos East senatorial district.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, dismissed the PDP prayer for lack of merit.

A three-man panel of the court affirmed the March 1, 2021, decision of Justice Chukwuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared APC candidate, Tokunbo Abiru as the winner of the December 5 senatorial bye-election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against Gbadamosi, who polled 11,257 votes.

But PDP and it’s candidate, Babatunde Gbadamosi challenged Abiru’s eligibility to contest the election

They sought to disqualify Abiru on the ground of double voter registration, residency, indigeneship and violation of Section 31 of the Electoral Act.

But in dismissing their case, Justice Obiozor agreed with Abiru’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN and APC’s counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, that the issue of residency and indigene-ship were not disqualifying factors under the constitution.

Dissatisfied, Gbadamosi and PDP approached the appellate court.

Delivering the unanimous judgment, via Zoom, Justice Daniel Kallio, decided the appeal and cross-appeal in Abiru and the APC’s favor.

The Appellate Court held that the residency of a candidate to an election was not a qualifying or disqualifying factor.

It held further that Abiru did not submit false information to INEC.

The court also dismissed the arguments of the appellants that the 2nd respondent had irreconcilable names.

The Justices further agreed with the arguments of Pinheiro and allowed the Cross-Appeal.

Wahab Akinlade

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