The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dismissed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to disqualify Senator Adetokunbo Abiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from continuing to represent Lagos East Senatorial District.
In a judgment delivered on Thursday via zoom, a three-man panel of the court affirmed the March 1 decision of the Federal High Court in Lagos which dismissed Babatunde Gbadamosi and the PDP’s suit for lacking in merit.
Delivering the unanimous judgment of the court, Justice Daniel Kallio presiding, decided the appeal and another cross-appeal in Abiru and the APC’s favour.
The court in its judgment agreed with Abiru’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) and held that the PDP’s appeal was unmeritorious.
In particular, the Court of Appeal held that the residency of a candidate to an election is not a qualifying or disqualifying factor.
It further held that the Abiru did not submit false information to INEC.
The Court also dismissed the arguments of Ebunolu Adegboruwa (SAN) who submitted on behalf of the Appellants that Abiru had irreconcilable names.
In resolving the Cross-Appeal the Court held that the suit of the Appellants (Gbadamosi & the PDP) at the lower Court was speculative and premature and the lower court ought to have dismissed same at the instance of the Preliminary Objection filed by the 2nd (Abiru) and 3rd (APC) Respondents.
Gbadamosi was online when his appeal was dismissed.
On Dec 5, 2020, Abiru had won the senatorial bye-election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against Gbadamosi’s 11,257 votes.
But Gbadamosi and the PDP challenged Abiru’s eligibility to contest the election.
The challengers 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 indigeneship were not disqualifying factors under the constitution.
Dissatisfied, Gbadamosi and PDP approached the appellate court.