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Appeal Court dismisses Gbadamosi, PDP’s suit against Abiru

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Group cautions Lagos govt against conducting election in 37 LCDAs

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dismissed the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) suit seeking to disqualify Senator Adetokunbo Abiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from continuing to represent Lagos East Senatorial District.

A three-man panel of the court affirmed the March 1, 2021 decision of Justice Chukwuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos, dismissing Babatunde Gbadamosi and the PDP’s suit for lacking merit.

Gbadamosi and the PDP had challenged Abiru’s eligibility to contest the election.

They sought disqualification of Abiru on the ground of double voter registration, residency, indigeneship and violation of Section 31 of the Electoral Act.

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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 are not disqualifying factors under the Constitution.

But dissatisfied, Gbadamosi and PDP approached the appellate court.

In a unanimous judgment yesterday via zoom, the court, presided by Justice Daniel Kallio, decided the appeal and another cross-appeal in Abiru and the APC’s favour.

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) led other lawyers for the appellants – Gbadamosi and the PDP.
MEANWHILE, ahead of the July 24, 2021 local council polls in Lagos State, a group, United Foundation for Survival and Sustainability, has warned the State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) against conducting the exercise in the 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs). 

It said the election should only take place in the 20 recognised local councils. In a statement yesterday, Chairman of the group, Otunba Ahmed Adekunle, said going ahead to do so would be tantamount to violation of the provisions of Section 3 (6) sub-section 7 and the First Schedule Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The release read in part: “In a recent advertorial published in some national dailies by LASIEC, titled ‘Notice of Election’, the electoral umpire went on to issue what it called ‘Timetable for Election’ and made it abundantly clear that chairmanship and councillorship positions were going to be contested for in the 20 local government areas and 37 LCDAs on July 24, 2021.
 
“For the avoidance of doubt, we like to state categorically that LASIEC only has right to conduct election into the constitutionally designated 20 local councils – not the 37 LCDAs as allowed by law.

“Going ahead to do so would be tantamount to violation of the provisions of section 3(6). 7 and the First Schedule Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The move will also be interpreted as disobedience to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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The group continued: “It is important we emphasize that LASIEC must listen to the voice of rationality and desist from this obviously teleguided agenda and save the nation needless distress.

“Instead of helping to seek ways of defeating the security challenges facing the nation, it is disheartening that some elements are struggling to perpetuate their hold on the reins of governance in the state by trying to enforce this illegality.

“The Local Government Areas (Amendment) Law of Lagos 2004 made it crystal clear in Section 1 which explicitly admits that until the National Assembly passes an Act to make consequential provisions with respect to the names of the said additional Local Government Areas as provided for under section 8(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), they shall remain ‘Inchoate and Inoperative.’

“This means that the said LCDAs are recognised only as ‘partly in existence.’

“This is why LASIEC, to quote the law, has no constitutional authority and statutory competence to conduct election into the 37 additionally created Local Councils that have question mark.”

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