The Federal High Court, Lagos, has scheduled judgment for March 1, 2021 in the suit filed by the People’s Democratic Party and its candidate, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, in respect of the bye-election for the Lagos East Senatorial District which held on December 5, 2020.
The court chose the date on Thursday January 22, 2021 after taking final arguments from lawyers representing parties – Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN for PDP and its candidate while Kemi Pinheiro, SAN and Owonikoko, SAN for Senator Adetokunbo Abiru and APC.
PDP and Gbadamosi had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, Abiru and the All Progressive Congress to court, seeking to disqualify him from contesting the election on the ground of double voter’s registration, indigenship and violation of section 31 of the Electoral Act, amongst others.
Another relief they are seeking is 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.
The PDP and its candidate in the poll, Ademola Gbadamosi, are the first and second applicants, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Senator Tokunbo Abiru are the first to third defendants in the suit.
Pinheiro told Justice Chuka that Gbadamosi’s suit was incompetent, defective, statute-barred, commenced via a wrong procedure, and ought to be struck out.
According to the learned silk, the case of the plaintiffs lacked merit as Abiru was duly nominated and qualified for the said bye-election.
Relying on his preliminary objection and rewritten address, Pinheiro observed that Gbadamosi’s Originating Summons was “incompetently and inelegantly drafted” and contained “ungrantable reliefs.”
He argued that the Plaintiff formulated nine issues which related to double registration and the indigeneship but that rather than argue the said issues, the Plaintiffs went on to argue two new different and distinct issues.
The Silk argued that the only thing left for the Court to do was to strike out the said Originating Summons for being defective.
As regard Gbadamosi’s allegations of crime against Abiru, the senior counsel stated that the suit was a civil action brought by originating summons and the court could not make a finding on an allegation of crime.
Pinheiro noted further that the Plaintiffs do not even have the fiat of the Attorney-General to prosecute any alleged offence.
He argued that the right to vote under section 66 was very narrow and that residence of the candidate does not fall under such.
Relying on INEC v. Atuma, he noted that the issue of residency does not disqualify a candidate from contesting an election.
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