By Adejoke Adeleye/Abeokuta
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out a case brought against the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun by Mrs. Iyabo Anisulowo.
The pre-election suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/34/1019 was filed to seek the disqualification of Abiodun as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Anisulowo had approached the Court to challenge the eligibility of Abiodun at the polls over his alleged failure to participate in the NYSC Scheme.
The Counsel to the Ogun State Governor, Mr Wale Abeeb Ajayi had prayed the court to dismiss the case against his client, as participation in the NYSC scheme was never a disqualification factor in elections.
Delivering his judgment, Justice M. A. Mohammed of Federal High Court 5, Abuja dismissed the 1st Defendant’s notice of preliminary objection and proceeded to deliver judgment on the substantive suit.
Mohammed also noted that the plaintiff -Anisulowo failed to establish that Abiodun presented false academic claims to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He held that the NYSC act does not make provision for the disqualification of a candidate who failed to participate in the NYSC scheme, saying that a candidate can only be disqualified under Section 177 of the Constitution.
Consequently, the suit was dismissed.
This case is the final of the series of pre-election matters filed against the governor in court as other cases have been similarly dismissed.
Only on Monday, the Supreme Court had dismissed a similar case brought by Abdulrafiu Baruwa challenging the qualification of Abiodun on the ground of failure to disclose all his academic qualifications.
Delivering judgement, the apex court held that the National Youth Service Act (NYSC) does not make provision for the disqualification of a candidate who failed to participate in the NYSC scheme.
The Court first dismissed the first defendant’s Notice of Preliminary Objections and proceeded to pronounce judgment on the substantive suit.
The court averred that a candidate can only be disqualified under Section 177 of the constitution, which states that “A person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if:
(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of thirty-five years;
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.”
Since Abiodun has not breached any of these provisions, the Court said the suit lacked merit.