By Okunade Adekunle
Following an allegation of double registration as a voter levelled against the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming bye-election in Lagos East Senatorial District, Mr Tokunbo Abiru by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi, the APC has described the allegation as ‘untrue’, saying that it was an indication that the PDP and its candidate were panicked over the defeat that awaits them.
The party, in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Mr Seye Oladejo, said, “Our attention has been drawn to an online report by an unknown blog alleging that a suit has been instituted challenging the eligibility of our candidate, Mr Tokunbo Abiru, to contest for the Lagos East Senatorial Election on account of a purported double registration as a voter.
“The allegation as contained in that report is not only false but we find it laughable. It is apparent that the Plaintiffs have not availed themselves the original copy of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended).”
APC added: “We understand their panic, fear and unease on account of the overwhelming and calamitous defeat that awaits them on the 31st of October, 2020. They should do well to ask the Traducers of Willie Obiano (of Anambra State) and Yahaya Bello (of Kogi State) and avail themselves of several other Court decisions in that respect.
“Let them continue to chase shadows while we remain focused as we campaign and gather support in the nooks and crannies of the Lagos East Constituency.
“We assure our teeming supporters and the entire electorate that our candidate’s eligibility is unassailable and by God’s grace he will emerge victorious at the election come October 31, 2020.”
Meanwhile, according to an online tabloid (Freelancers), the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, had issued a summons for Abiru, in a case instituted by his political opponent, Gbadamosi of the PDP.
The online tabloid reported that the PDP candidate is seeking the disqualification of Abiru in the bye-election set to hold on October 31, 2020.
Abiru is expected to appear within thirty days of the issue to answer 9 counts that include his eligibility and criminal allegation of double registration in the same unit with two different Voter Identification Number (VIN).
The APC’s candidate is jointly charged with his party, APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Abiru stated as the second defendant in the summon, allegedly has VINs 90F5B 05 EEB 29560 3194 and 90F5A FEA90 41821 3518, which showed that the registered twice in the same registration centre of Lekki/Ikwate and environ in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State. This is contrary to the provisions of Section 12 (2) and (3), Section 31 (5) and (6), Section 117 (1)(c) and Section 118 (1)(k) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
In addition to this, contrary to the provision of Sections 71 and 72 of the Nigerian constitution 1999 (as amended), Abiru is allegedly not from Lagos East Senatorial District as his voter’s registration revealed a centre under Eti Osa Local Government and hence, not qualified to represent the district.