A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Thursday upheld the candidacy of Mr Adedapo Abiodun as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi dismissed the suit brought by an APC member, AbdulRafiu Baruwa, ahead of Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections in the state.
In the suit, Baruwa had prayed the court to disqualify the APC candidate on the ground that he provided false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in his Form CF 001.
He also sought that Abiodun be disqualified from the governorship race for alleged concealment and deliberate refusal to supply details of his educational qualifications to INEC as require by law, so as to escape punishment for infringement on the law.
Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the APC candidate claimed in the 2015 senatorial election form for Ogun East to have graduated from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, but in the 2019 governorship form, the candidate was said to have claimed to possess only secondary school education.
He asserted that Abiodun deliberately concealed his university education because of his alleged non-participation in the mandatory National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) for Nigerians who are 30 years and below as at the time of graduation.
Baruwa insisted that wilful concealment or refusal to disclose detail of educational background amounted to false information and applied for an order of the court to disqualify the APC candidate.
He also sought another order of the court to replace Abiodun with one Jimi Lawal who was said to have come second in the primary election conducted by the party for the nomination of governorship candidate in Ogun State.
In his judgment, Justice Adeniyi, however, held that Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution cannot be invoked to disqualify the APC candidate because participation in the NYSC scheme was not a condition for qualification for governorship election.
He also held that the failure to include university education in the Form CF 001 submitted to INEC by Abiodun cannot be used to nullify his nomination.
According to the judge, the law provides states that a minimum qualification of secondary school education is required to qualify for governorship election which the APC governorship candidate eminently claims that he possessed.
He ruled that there were no consequences for Abiodun with his refusal to give details of his university education.
Justice Adeniyi added that the case of the plaintiff was an academic exercise which has no bearing with qualifications for governorship election under the constitution of the country.
He, therefore, held that the case of the plaintiff was unmeritorious and consequently dismissed it.