By Akin Kuponiyi
The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Mr Tokunbo Abiru, on Friday urged a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to strike out a suit filed challenging his eligibility to contest for the office.
Abiru, a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the last Lagos East senatorial bye-election told the court that the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the last December 5 senatorial bye-election, Ademola Gbadamosi, was incompetent, defective and ought to be struck out.
The plaintiff, Gbadamosi is claiming that Abiru was ineligible for the election on ground relating to alleged double voter registration and indigeneship.
However, Abiru, who won the election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against as against Gbadamosi’s 11,257 votes filed his objection to the suit through his counsel Mr Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.
Mr Pinheiro told the court that the Plaintiff’s suit was statute-barred, incompetent and was commenced via a wrong procedure.
Relying on his preliminary objection and written address, Pinheiro argued that Gbadamosi’s Originating Summons was “incompetently and inelegantly drafted” and contained “ungrantable reliefs.”
He stated further that the Plaintiff formulated nine issues which relates to double registration and the indigeneship but rather than argue the said issues, the Plaintiffs went on to argue two new different and distinct issues.
Consequently, the only thing left for the Court to do was to strike out the said Originating Summons for being defective.
Gbadamosi’s allegations of crime against Abiru, the counsel stated that the suit was a civil action brought by originating summons and the court could not make a finding on an allegation of crime.
Pinheiro, relied on the authority of Apoti v. INEC where it was held that the Plaintiffs cannot convert a civil proceedings into a criminal proceedings, and on Oluwashogo v. INEC where it was held that the issue of double registration or holding of two voter cards does not constitute a disqualifying element.
The plaintiff’s counsel, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, could not respond due to the absence of the APC’s counsel, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, who had earlier on requested for an adjournment to enable him take the APC’s counter affidavit and arguments.
The presiding Judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor has adjourned till January 22, for continuation of hearing.