Alex Enumah in Abuja
An Abuja High Court sitting in Apo district of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday, upheld the nomination of Adedapo Abiodun as the lawful candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9 governorship election in Ogun State.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi upheld Abiodun’s nomination after dismissing a suit filed by an aggrieved APC member, Abdul-Rafiu Baruwa, seeking the disqualification of Abiodun as APC governorship candidate on the grounds that he (Abiodun) lied in his form CF 001 submitted to INEC for the purpose of contesting the governorship election.
Justice Adeniyi, who dismissed the suit on the grounds that it lacked merit, described the case of the plaintiff as a mere academic exercise, which has no bearing with qualifications for governorship election under the Nigerian Constitution.
Baruwa, in the suit, had asked Justice Olukayode Adeniyi to disqualify Abiodun from the governorship race for alleged concealment and deliberate refusal to supply details of his educational qualifications to INEC as require by law so as to escape punishment for infringement on the law.
Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that APC governorship candidate claimed in 2015 senatorial election form for Ogun East to have graduated from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, but in the 2019 governorship form, the candidate was said to have claimed to possess only secondary school education.
According to Baruwa, the 2nd respondent deliberately concealed his university education because of his alleged non-participation in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme for Nigerians who are 30 years and below as at the time of graduation.
The plaintiff in the suit submitted that the willful concealment or refusal to disclose detailed educational background amounted to false information.
He consequently prayed the court for an order disqualifying Abiodun from contesting in the Saturday governorship election in Ogun State.
He also sought another order of the court to replace Abiodun with one Jimi Lawal who was said to have come second in the primary election conducted by APC for nomination of governorship candidate for Ogun State.
Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Adeniyi held that Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution cannot be invoked to disqualify the APC candidate because participation in the NYSC scheme is not a condition for qualification for governorship election.
The judge also held that the failure to include university education in the Form CF 001 submitted to INEC by Abiodun cannot be used to nullify his nomination since he already possessed the minimum qualification of a secondary school certificate required to qualify for governorship election.
The judge added that there were no consequences for the refusal of Abiodun to give details of his university education and consequently dismissed the suit for being unmeritorious.