A ballot box filled with ballot is pictured before being counted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at a polling station in Yenagoa in Bayelsa State ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Ikeja - An Ikeja High Court has fixed March
5 for judgment in a suit seeking to stop a former Minister of State for
Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, from contesting any electoral office in
Justice Kazeem Alogba fixed the date on Thursday after listening to arguments
from Obanikoro's counsel, Mr Gbenga Ojo, and the applicants' counsel, Mr Wahab
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three members of the PDP, Messrs
Babatunde Ogun, Suleiman Saheed and Wasiu Adeniyi Odusan, filed the suit on
Nov. 27, 2014.
Joined in the suit as respondents are the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) and the PDP.
The court had on Nov. 27, 2014, dismissed their ex-parte motion seeking to
restrain Obanikoro from participating in the PDP Lagos governorship primaries
which was eventually won by Mr Jimi Agbaje.
However, moving the substantive application, Shittu argued that Obanikoro was
not eligible to contest any political position in Nigeria.
He said this was based on Paragraph 4 (a) of Part IV of the Electoral
Guidelines for Primary Elections, 2014, of the INEC.
Also read: Obanikoro admits to partaking in Ekiti poll rigging meeting
Shittu exhibited several documents that included an application form bearing
Onikoro Musiliu Babatunde in support of the motion.
According to him, the former minister has dual citizenship and also presented a
forged birth certificate to the INEC in December 2006.
He said that whatever judgment arrived at by the court would become an
important reference point on the nation's political landscape.
Shittu said: "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.”
Responding, Ojo urged the court to dismiss the suit for being an abuse of court
processes, adding that it did not disclose a reasonable cause of action.
Ojo said: "The case against the first respondent (Obanikoro) is premised on
forgery and dual citizenship, and there is no evidence of his trial or
conviction for the alleged offences.
"In the absence of the conviction, the case is a non-starter.
"All the documents relied upon by the applicants in the suit are either
uncertified public documents or documents printed from internet without
authentication of the source or certification."
Ojo further argued that the suit was a mere academic exercise since Obanikoro
failed to clinch the PDP's gubernatorial ticket for the state.