Tuesday, November 3, 2020 12:27 am
Though the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had postponed indefinitely the bye-elections for the vacant legislative seats across the country initially scheduled for 31 October, the candidates in the polls have continued their campaigns across the country.
But in Lagos, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Babatunde Gbadamosi, is seeking to sack his main opponent in the race for the Lagos East Senatorial District, Tokunbo Abiru of All Progressives Congress, APC even before the electoral contest.
On Monday, a Federal high court sitting in Lagos adjourned till November 16,2020 the suit filed before the court by PDP seeking to disqualify Abiru in the contest to replace Abiru for replacement of Senator Bayo Osinowo, who died on June 15, this year.
In the suit, PDP and its candidate Gbadamosi are challenging the eligibility of Abiru to participate in the suit.
The PDP and Gbadamosi are praying for an order for Abiru’s disqualification on the grounds that he was alleged to have possessed two Permanent Voters cards, and that he is neither from, nor registered to vote in the Lagos East Senatorial District.
When the case was mentioned, counsel to the APC urged the court to dismiss the PDP’s suit on the ground, that it was statute barred, that is, they were delayed in filling the suit
He told the court that he had filed a counter affidavit and preliminary objection establishing that the case is statute barred.
In the defendant’s averments and preliminary objection, by virtue of Section 285 (9) of the Constitution every pre-election matter ought to be commenced within 14 days of the date of the occurrence of the event or action complained about.
The defendants contended that the acts complained of in the suit all occurred on or before September 11th, over the period of 14 days prior to the commencement of the suit.
“Having not commenced this suit within 14 days of the occurrence of the actions complained of, makes it statute barred.”
In addition Abiru’s residency or indigene status is not recognized grounds upon which he could be disqualified from contesting an election.
In another instance, they canvassed the point that “The mode and manner in which a grievance regarding double voter registration can be ventilated have been well settled in the Electoral Act to be by a criminal charge.”
He then prayed for an order staying the hearing of any other application pending the determination of the notice of preliminary objection and an order striking out and/or dismissing the instant suit for want of jurisdiction.”
Responding, PDP counsel Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN told the court that he had filed an originating motion, but needed time to file a response to the defendant’s preliminary objection.
The presiding Judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor adjourned for further proceedings till November 16, 2020.