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Appeal court reinstates PDP candidate winner of Ondo Reps seat

Akure division of the Court of Appeal has upturned the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the election of Hon. Ikengboju Gboluga of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) as the member representing Okitipupa/Irele federal constituency in the House of Representatives.

Gboluga was sacked by the election petition tribunal in July for swearing allegiance to the United Kingdom (UK) having acquired the citizenship of the country.

The tribunal subsequently declared Albert Akintoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the election conducted on February 23, 2019.

It ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to Akintoye after withdrawing same from Gboluga.

Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgment, Gboluga filed an appeal against the judgment.

But in a unanimous judgment by the trio of Appeal Court Justices: M.A Danjuma, R.M Abdullahi and P.A Mahmood, the court ruled that a Nigerian citizen by birth cannot be disqualified from contesting the election because he acquired additional citizenship of other countries and sworn an oath of allegiance of such countries.

The Appeal Court said the trial tribunal was wrong to have sacked Ikengboju Gboluga, a Nigerian citizen by birth based on his acquisition of additional citizenship and swearing oath of allegiance of such country.

The appellate court accused the trial tribunal of speaking from both sides of the mouth while it also accused the tribunal of interpreting the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wrongfully.

The court, however, set aside the judgment of the tribunal and upheld the election of Ikengboju Gboluga as the duly elected representative of the good people of Okitipupa/Irele federal constituency.

The court also awarded the sum of N2m cost against Albert Akintoye, the candidate of the APC, declaring that the cost must be paid before October 1, 2019.

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