Law News
Court rules on Obanikoro’s eligibility March 5

A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has fixed March 5, 2015 to give judgment in a suit seeking to stop a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, from ever contesting for any electoral office in the country.

Among the allegations levelled against the ex-minister was that he had at one time or the other falsified his age and had submitted a forged birth certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the purpose of contesting governorship election in Lagos State.

Obanikoro’s accusers are also asking the court to determine whether he is still eligible to contest any election in the country, having “voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the United States of America in addition to the citizenship of Nigeria.”

The action was instituted shortly before the Lagos Peoples Democracy Party primary election, which held on December 8, last year.

The three plaintiffs in the suit are members of the PDP, namely, Michael Ogun, Suleiman Saheed and Wasiu Odusan.

Apart from their originating summons, the plaintiffs had also filed an ex parte application, wherein they urged Justice Kazeem Alogba to stop Obanikoro from standing for the PDP governorship primary in Lagos State.

The judge, however, declined to stop Obanikoro from participating in the said primary, which was eventually won by Mr. Jimi Agbaje.

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Mr. Wahab Shittu, had argued that the matter was one that bordered on constitutional infringement and that whatever judgment arrived at by the court would become an important reference point in the nation’s political landscape.

“A democracy is principally founded on the rule of law. At all times there are two choices to make, whether you want to be guided by the rule of law or by the culture of impunity. Your Lordship will decide this issue for history and for posterity,” Shittu said.

According to him, Obanikoro’s alleged misconduct are an affront on Section 182(1) (a) (j) of the 1999 Constitution and sections 31 (2), 50 (6) and (8) and 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

But in his objection, Obanikoro’s counsel, Gbenga Ojo, described the suit as speculative and an abuse of court processes.

He urged Alogba to promptly dismiss the suit for failure to disclose any reasonable cause of action.

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