Court fixes January 15, 2021 for further hearing in PDP’s case against Abiru over Lagos East senatorial bye-election

By Editor.

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has fixed January 15, 2021 for further hearing in the case filed by the People’s Democratic Party and its candidate, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, in the just concluded bye-election for the Lagos East Senatorial District.

In the case, the plaintiffs are urging the court to hold that Mr Adetokunbo Abiru was not qualified to stand as a candidate of the All Progressive Congress, in the bye-election that held on December 5, 2020.

The Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate in the said election, Mr. Gbadamosi, had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Abiru and the APC to court, seeking to disqualify him from contesting the election on the ground of double voter’s registration and violation of section 31 of the Electoral Act.

This matter was still pending in court when INEC went ahead and conducted the said bye election on December 5, 2020, whereby it declared Abiru as the senator-elect for the district.

In the suit filed on PDP’s behalf by a human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, the PDP is seeking an order directing INEC to delete the name of Abiru and the APC from the list of the candidates and political parties entitled to participate in the said bye election.

PDP is also asking for an order nullifying, cancelling and voiding the nomination, submission and acceptance of the name of Abiru as the candidate of the APC for the bye-election and an order disqualifying him from contesting the bye election.
When the case came up yesterday, December 9, 2020 before the Hon Justice Professor Chuka Obiozor, Adegboruwa, SAN represented the plaintiffs, while T. I. Inuwa, SAN, represented INEC. Mr Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, represented Abiru and Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, stood in for APC.
Adegboruwa adopted all the processes filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, urging the court to hold that Abiru was not eligible to stand as a candidate in the election because of false declarations made to INEC under oath. He also stated that Abiru deserves to be disqualified on the ground of possession of multiple voter’s registration.

Inuwa on behalf of INEC urged the court to dismiss the case of PDP on the ground that it is not every false declaration on oath that will lead to the disqualification of a candidate. He maintained that Abiru has substantially satisfied the conditions for qualification as stated under the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

Earlier in the proceedings, Adegboruwa had withdrawn his motion for amendment to enable the court hear the substantive case of the plaintiffs.

The Senior lawyers took arguments in turn from 10am till 7pm, when it became clear that the case could not be concluded.

The Judge agreed with the SANs to adjourn further hearing to January 15, 2021.