From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

A law chamber, Afe Babalola &Co, has urged the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, to disregard a petition before his office, seeking the disqualification of Ogun Governor, Dapo Abiodun, from participating in the 2022 governorship primary in the state.

The law firm, in the letter responding to the petition and dated April 19, described the petition dated April 12, as full of spurious and unfounded allegations meant to mislead the party into disqualifying the governor from participating in the 2023 governorship election.

In the letter received at the APC national secretariat by Samuel Jimba on April 26, the law chamber said the petition was not served on the governor, which, according to it, “was a deliberate move to deprive him of the opportunity to set the records straight and knowing that the petition was characterised by falsehood and malice.”

While noting that the petitions are 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 the governor and mislead the APC, it said the petitioner relied on hearsay and urged Adamu and APC national leadership to disregard the hearsay.

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According to Afe Babalola and Co, the allegation of discrepancies in Governor Abiodun’s  Independent National Electoral Commission  (INEC) Form CF001 for 2015 and 2019, is a statute-barred, arguing 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 longer be a ground to disqualify Governor Abiodun in the upcoming 2023 governorship election. Forms CF001 for 2015 and 2019 are spent and cannot be used to determine the eligibility of the governor to contest in 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, saying both the tribunal and court were unanimous in their decisions not only that the allegations were status-barred, but held that the said Forms CF001 of 2015 and 2019 did not contain any false statement.

It further said the matter that the Supreme Court had also affirmed the decisions of the tribunal and the Appeal Court, by dismissing the petition of false statement against the governor.

On the allegation that the governor had been convicted for an offence in 1986, the chamber said the petitioner failed to attach any court judgment to the petition to this effect, hence, the allegation was baseless, asking the APC top echelon to discountenance as such.