The All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership has received a petition which seeks to disqualify Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, from participating in the forthcoming governorship primaries.
The petition alleges that there are discrepancies in his Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) forms CF001 submitted in 2015 and 2019.
The April 12 petition also alleges that the governor was convicted for an offence in 1986.
The petitioners add that he bears Shawn Michael Davis in addition to Dapo Abiodun.
But the governor, in a letter to the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, through his lawyers Afe Babalola & Co, urged the party to disregard a petition.
The law firm, in an April 19 letter to Adamu, described the petition as full of spurious and unfounded allegations meant to mislead the party into disqualifying the governor from participating in the 2023 gubernatorial election.
The law chamber said that the petition was not served on the governor, which “was a deliberate move to deprive him of the opportunity to set the records straight and knowing full well that the petition was characterised by falsehood and malice”.
Abiodun claimed the petition was nothing more than the machinations of political jobbers and saboteurs sponsored by desperate opposition elements to disrupt the peaceful political atmosphere in Ogun, spread rumours/propaganda about him and mislead the APC.
He said the petitioner relied on “hearsays”, urging Senator Adamu and APC national leadership to disregard them.
According to Afe Babalola & Co, the allegation of discrepancies in Abiodun’s INEC Form CF001 for 2015 and 2019 is statute-barred.
The firm argued that the allegation can only form the basis of a cause of action in court 14 days from the day the governor filed and deposed to the forms.
It further stated that the alleged contradiction in the two INEC forms cannot be used to determine the eligibility of the governor to contest the next governorship election.
The law firm recalled that cases were filed in court and petitions filed at the Governorship Election Tribunal seeking to disqualify the governor based on allegations of falsehood and inconsistency in the two INEC Forms.
It said the Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of both the tribunal and courts that the allegations were status-barred and that the forms did not contain any false statement.
On the allegation that the governor was convicted for an offence in 1986, the chamber said the petitioner failed to attach any judgment to prove it.
The firm also denied the allegation that the governor has a former name, saying he has no other name other than Prince Adedapo Oluseun Abiodun.
“His name is reflected in all his certificates and other former documents. We urge Your Excellency to disregard the petitioner’s unfounded allegation,” the firm pointed out.
The law firm added: “Your Excellency, it is not in doubt that all the allegations in the petition relating to our client’s Forms CF001 for 2015 and 2019 are baseless and unfounded.
“As shown above, the High Court of the FCT, Governorship Election Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court have all held that the said allegations are unfounded and status-barred so that there would be no basis for disqualifying our client.
“Our client has been adjudged by the Tribunal and courts to be eminently qualified to contest the 2019 Ogun State gubernatorial election, which he won a landslide.
“Since, as of today, the courts have held that our client is qualified under the 1999 Constitution, the party cannot impose additional grounds for disqualification on him.
“Also, the APC Constitution and guidelines for the conduct of primary elections cannot override the CFRN.
“Therefore, the party has no vires to prevent our client from contesting any election under its banner.
“As rightly admitted by the petitioner, only a court of law can disqualify our client. The party cannot disqualify him or prevent him from contesting in the party’s primary election.
“Your Excellency, our client is ready and willing to, at the screening stage for the party’s primary election, present his credentials and relevant document (including his primary school certificate, which has been alleged to be nonexistent) to establish his eligibility to contest in the upcoming 2023 governorship election in Ogun State.
“Therefore, we urge the party not to be distracted or misled by unfounded allegations aimed at preventing the party from presenting our client, who is the best candidate for the 2023 gubernatorial election, as the party’s flag bearer.
“We also urge the party not to give credence to any rumour which may scuttle the party’s chances in the said election.
“Finally, we pray that the petition should be disregarded as it is fraught with falsehood, speculation, inaccuracies.”
The letter was said to have been received at the APC National Secretariat by Ambassador Samuel Jimba on April 26.