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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, on Friday fixed March 8 for judgment in a suit challenging the eligibility of the All Progressives Congress’ governorship candidate in Ogun State, Mr. Dapo Abiodun, to contest in the forthcoming March 9 election in the state.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi fixed the date for judgment after listening to lawyers representing parties, for and against the suit.
The judge said the judgment would be delivered on or before March 8, which is barely 24 hours to the governorship election.
The plaintiff, Mr. Abdulrafiu Baruwa, a member of APC in the state, had on December 13, 2018, filed his suit asking the court to disqualify Abiodun for allegedly making false declaration in his Form CF.001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The plaintiff, through his counsel, Mr. Oluwole Aladedoye, alleged that Abiodun deliberately refused to disclose his university degree in the Form CF.001, an act which the lawyer said amounted to making false declaration of information.
He prayed that on the basis of that, the court should disqualify Abiodun from contesting in the forthcoming poll as stipulated in section 31(4) and (5) of the Electoral Act.
The plaintiff had prayed that upon disqualifying Abiodun from contesting in the election, the court should declare Jimi Lawal, who came second in the APC’s governorship primary in Ogun State, as the party’s candidate ahead of the next Saturday’s poll.
The APC, Abiodun and INEC were sued as the first to the third defendants respectively.
Arguing the case on Friday, Aladedoye said, “It is clear that the second plaintiff (Abiodun) has made a false declaration by limiting his educational qualification to WAEC certificate.”
The lawyer also faulted Abiodun’s claim that his university certificate became missing after the APC’s primary primaries.
Aladedoye said the claim by Abiodun amounted to an admission of a false declaration on the grounds that the acclaimed loss of the certificate was not enough reason not to disclose that he possessed the certificate in the Form CF.001.
The lawyer argued that Abiodun’s alleged deliberate refusal to disclose information about the university degree was aimed at suppressing information about his failure to participate in the National Youth Service Corps scheme.
Aladedoye, maintained that Abiodun deliberately refused to disclose the information about the university degree in order to avert the consequence of disqualification meted out by the APC to the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, who was disqualified by the party from contesting the governorship primary in Oyo State because of not participating in NYSC scheme.
INEC was represented by its lawyer, Mr. B. A Wali, but did not make any contribution in the arguments on the case on Friday.
But APC’s lawyer, Mr. Damien Dodo (SAN), and the lawyer representing Abiodun, Mr. Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), opposed the suit, arguing in their separate notices of preliminary objection that the FCT High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.