The Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun has said that his arrest in the United States of America over credit card fraud and forgery in 1986 is not sufficient grounds for his disqualification by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Abiodun said APC as a political party lacked the power to disqualify him, stressing that only a competent court of law could do so, had the statutes of limitations for such matters not passed.
You would recall that an APC member in Ogun State, Ayodele Oludiran had on behalf of Oluwatobi Sofela submitted a petition warning that the party might lose the governorship seat in the State due to Mr Abiodun’s criminal history and its concealment from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) despite swearing an oath.
He also drew attention to the discrepancies in the governor’s educational qualifications, which he said might also cause opposition parties to question the eligibility of Mr Abiodun’s re-election bid
He said in his petition that “If action is not taken, the chances of our great party, the APC, retaining the governorship seat in Ogun State shall be in jeopardy as previously seen in Bayelsa and Zamfara States.”
In response to Mr Sofela’s petition, Afe Babalola and Co, the legal team representing the Governor had written to the APC Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu saying “An aspirant or candidate will only be disqualified by the court if the false information he gives relates to a constitutional requirement of eligibility. APC is not a court of law. Accordingly, it cannot disqualify our client,”
The lawyers further argued that the governor’s probable arrest was not a conviction and hence was not answerable to the laws that applied to criminals.
He said “In any event, assuming but not conceding that our client was even convicted in 1986, he would still not be affected or caught by Section 182 (1) (e) of the CFRN because the CFRN requires that the conviction which would disqualify a person from the position of the governor must have occurred ten years before the date of election to the office,”
You would also recall that Abidemi Rufai, a longtime associate of Mr Abiodun, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. for his role in a $650 million (N312 billion) employment fraud.