By Akin Kuponiyi/Lagos
The candidate of the PDP, Babatunde Gbadamosi, has begun a legal move to disqualify the candidate of the APC, Tokunbo Abiru, from the bye-election to fill the vacant seat of Lagos East Senatorial district.
Further hearing in the suit was adjourned today till 16 November by a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Gbadamosi and Abiru are running to replace Senator Bayo Osinowo, who died on June 15, this year. Osinowo was of the APC.
Other defendants in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC .
The PDP and Gbadamosi are praying for Abiru’s disqualification on the grounds that he was alleged to have possessed two Permanent Voters cards, and that he is neither from, nor registered to vote in the Lagos East Senatorial District.
When the case was mentioned counsel to the APC urged the court to dismiss the PDP’s suit on the ground, that it was statute barred.
He told the court that he had filed a counter affidavit and preliminary objection establishing that the case is statute barred.
The lawyer, citing Section 285 (9) of the Constitution, said every pre-election matter ought to be commenced within 14 days of the date of the occurrence of the event or action complained about.
The defendants contended that the acts complained of in the suit all occurred on or before 11 September, more than 14 days prior to the commencement of the suit.
“Having not commenced this suit within 14 days of the occurrence of the actions complained of makes it statute barred,” he said.
In addition, he said Abiru’s residency or indigene status are not recognised grounds upon which he could be disqualified from contesting an election.
On Abiru registering twice to vote, the lawyer stated that the matter can only be settled via a criminal charge.
He then prayed for an order staying the hearing of any other application pending the determination of the notice of preliminary objection and an order striking out and/or dismissing the instant suit for want of jurisdiction.”
PDP counsel Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN told the court that he had filed an Originating Motion but needed time to file a response to the defendant’s preliminary objection.
The presiding Judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor adjourned further proceedings till 16 November.