Lawan, Gbajabiamila risk losing seats over dual citizenship

Senate President Lawan and Speaker of rep. Femi
Credit: BBC

The recent ruling by an Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal pose a threat to the seat of The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and other lawmakers, Punch reports.

Over the Ownership of dual citizenship, the tribunal sacked Mr Ikengboju Gboluga, member of the Peoples Democratic Party representing Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency of Ondo State on July 31, 2019.

Then ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Mr Albert Akintoye of the All progressive Congress (APC) a certificate of Return.

The Punch reports that, the head of the tribunal, justice Nuhu Adi in his ruling said that Mr Ikengboju was not eligible to run for the 2019 National Assembly election for reason of his admittance in his INEC Form CF001 that he had ” voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the United Kingdom” and had sworn allegiance to the country.

Punch Newspaper cited that the judgment was based on Section 66 of the 1999 Constitution which states in part that, “No person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if: (a) subject to the provisions of section 28 of this constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such a country.”

An investigation carried out by the Newspaper also reveal that, out of the 109 senators, four admitted in their INEC forms that they had voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country.

This include the Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele, Teslim Folarin, and Ibrahim Bomai.

However, a source speaking to Punch reveals that the number could be larger than that.

For the Senate President, he admitted in his own form to never changing his nationality in the past but admitted to voluntarily acquiring the citizenship of another country and had sworn allegiance to the same country, the Punch reported.

According to the newspaper, Gbajabiamila and others have declined in given their comments. However, an anonymous source close to the Senate President told Punch that Lawan was not scared of losing his seat over dual citizenship status, adding nobody had taken him to court over the issue yet.

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