Gov Race: Aspirant Asks Court To Stop Agbaje

•Jimi Agbaje1

•Jimi Agbaje: PDP governorship candidate for Lagos State

Eromosele Ebhomele

A governorship aspirant for Lagos State, western Nigeria in the 2015 general elections in the country, Nurudeen Balogun, has asked a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja to stop Jimi Agbaje, another aspirant for the same position, arguing that the latter was not a bona fide member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Balogun, a member of the PDP and from the same part of Lagos with Chief Bode George, a chieftain of the party, also joined the party as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as defendants in the case.

In the summons obtained by P.M.NEWS, Balogun, who gave his party’s membership card number as 122488, argued that since Agbaje officially joined the PDP in July, 2014, he was not qualified to vie for any political position under the platform of the party especially as he had not stayed long enough as stipulated by the PDP constitution.

An accompanying affidavit deposed to by Balogun, stated that “in accordance with Section 50(9) of the second defendant’s (PDP) Constitution, only aspirants with minimum of two years membership span shall be eligible to stand for election into any public office under its platform.

“That the first defendant (Agbaje) herein who only joined the second defendant, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in July of 2014 wishes to contest for the governorship election under the platform of the second defendant, the PDP.

“That as at today, the 26th day of November, 2014 the first defendant is barely four months old as a legitimate card carrying member of the second defendant.”He added that as a new entrant into the party, Agbaje “has never paid his registration dues and regular annual subscription fees for renewal of his membership” and is therefore “not eligible to contest elective position to a public office on the platform of the second defendant.”

He also said he was aware that Agbaje had not been given any waiver by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP as stipulated by the party’s constitution, to contest for elective position to the office of the Governor of Lagos State under the platform of the PDP.

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He further said he had petitioned the Chairman of the South-West Governorship Screening Committee of the PDP concerning this “unwholesome practice and blatant infraction of the second defendant’s constitution by the first defendant and his cohorts” in the party. He attached the said petition dated 21 November, 2014 to the affidavit.

He said the PDP did not respond, reply or take necessary action concerning the petition.

“It is sequel to the above averment that this suit became necessary to forestall radical violence to the second defendant’s constitution by the first defendant,” Balogun deposed further, adding that since the PDP would hold its governorship primaries on 8 December, 2014, it would be in the interest of justice for his application to be granted.

While asking the court, through his lawyers, Clement Onwuenwunor and John Itodo, to determine whether Agbaje “whose membership is yet to be regularised or paid any annual subscription for renewal of membership or waiver granted by the first defendant, is eligible and qualified to present himself for the primary election for 2015 governorship election in Lagos State” under the platform of the PDP.

He is also seeking the court for a declaration that Agbaje, having only joined the PDP in July 2014, is not eligible and qualified to run for any elective position to public office in the forthcoming 2015 general elections particularly the governorship election under the PDP in Lagos State.

He is further seeking a declaration that it is only a duly registered member of the PDP or one whose membership is regularized that can present himself and pick Expression of Interest/Nomination Forms for the primary election.

Apart from these, he wants the court to rule that the PDP and INEC are not entitled to accept the Expression of Interest/Nomination Forms for the governorship election from Agbaje as a result of his (Balogun’s) arguments.

Balogun is further seeking an injunction restraining Agbaje from parading himself as candidate for election or presenting himself to any organ of the party, especially its Screening Committee for the purpose of being screened for the primary election and another injunction restraining the PDP and INEC as well as their agents from accepting the Expression of Interest/Nomination Forms from Agbaje or screening him to participate in the primary election for the 2015 governorship election in Lagos State.

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