Three members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have urged the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja to disqualify a former defence minister Musiliu Obanikoro from seeking governorship nomination in the party’s primaries.
The petitioners said having previously presented a forged birth certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the April 2007 election, Obanikoro is ineligible to present himself for nomination.
They said, official records, such as his Nigerian and diplomatic passports, show that Obanikoro was born on July 28, 1960, but he allegedly falsified it to July 28, 1954.
Besides, the applicants said Obanikoro also allegedly lied in 2007 when he failed to disclose to INEC that he has dual citizenship.
They prayed the court to determine whether, having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the United States of America in addition to that of Nigeria without renouncing the former and declaring allegiance to the latter, Obanikoro is eligible to seek nomination.
The plaintiffs – Michael Ogunsuada, Suleiman Saheed and Wasiu Odusan – are seeking a declaration that Obanikoro stands disqualified from aspiring for nomination in PDP’s governorship primaries or that of any other party for the purposes of contesting either in next year’s election or subsequent polls by virtue of his antecedents.
They prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining him from participating in PDP’s governorship primaries scheduled for December 8.
They also sought an order restraining the party from nominating Obanikoro to INEC to contest next year’s governorship election in Lagos or any other election in Nigeria.
The plaintiffs, who joined Obanikoro, INEC and PDP as respondents, further sought a restraining order against INEC from accepting Obanikoro’s nomination by PDP for any election.
In a supporting affidavit filed on November 14, Ogunsuada said he is a loyal party man who is determined to ensure that only a high quality candidate and person of character and competence who fulfills all constitutional requirements is nominated.
“I am likely to be gravely prejudiced if the aspiration for nomination of the first respondent (Obanikoro) as a candidate in the primaries of the third respondent (PDP) is not restrained considering his shady antecedents…,” the deponent said.
The applicants’ lawyers also filed an affidavit of urgency praying that the application be heard quickly as PDP’s screening exercise will hold between November 22 and 25.
They stated that if the suit is not heard and determined urgently, Obanikoro may present himself for screening while the applicants “may lose their rights to challenge the respondents.”
Meanwhile former deputy national chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George had denied that President Goodluck Jonathan had endorsed the former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro as the party’s standard bearer in the 2015 governorship election in Lagos.
George in an interview noted that President Jonathan was not backing any of the party aspirants in the election.
He said Obanikoro was economical with the truth by saying President Jonathan has endorsed him and had asked him to resign as minister to contest.
George denied having any preferred candidate for the election, saying whoever the party decides to choose as its candidate, must be respectable, responsible, acceptable, manageable and marketable.