Lagos East: Court to hear APC, PDP’s applications December 9

By Robert Egbe

A Federal High Court in Lagos Monday adjourned till December 9 to hear pending applications in a suit challenging the eligibility of the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru, in the December 5 Lagos East Senatorial District Bye-Election.

Mr Abiru is vying to replace Senator Bayo Osinowo, who died on June 15, reportedly following complications from the Coronavirus.

But his eligibility is being challenged by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s and its candidate in the poll, Babatunde Gbadamosi, who are first and second plaintiffs respectively.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abiru and the APC are the first to third defendants respectively in the suit marked, FHC/L/CS/1361/2020.

The PDP and Gbadamosi are seeking to disqualify Abiru from contesting the election on the ground of double voter’s registration and violation of section 31 of the Electoral Act.

Through their counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, the PDP have prayed for an order directing the INEC to delete Abiru and the APC’s names from the list of the candidates and political parties to participate in the bye election.

They are also praying 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.

At the last hearing on November 2, before Justice Obiozor, Mr Adegboruwa informed the court that he was served with a notice of preliminary objection to the case filed by Kemi Pinheiro, SAN on behalf of Abiru and Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN on behalf of the APC.

In these objections, Abiru and APC are challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the case of PDP and Gbadamosi on the ground that it is statute-barred, not having been filed within the 14 days stipulated by Section 285(9) of the Constitution.

PDP and Gbadamosi have countered the objection by stating that the case was filed within time in view of the fact that INEC published the names of candidates on September 17, 2020 and the case was filed on September 29, 2020.

When the case came up again yesterday, Adegboruwa informed the court that fresh papers had been filed by all the parties, which would require detailed responses on both sides.

He applied for and got the court’s nod to withdraw his application for an amendment.

Justice Obiozor indicted his preference to take all applications along with the substantive suit, while granting the applications of the lawyers to abridge the time for filing their processes.
He adjourned till December 9, for definite hearing of all applications.