We reject in its entirety the decision of the Elections Petitions Tribunal which nullified the legitimate mandate of the people of Okitipupa-Irele Federal Constituency given to Hon Ikengboju Gboluga of our party.
We find the basis upon which the decision of the Tribunal was made, deeply troubling and at variance with the constitutional provisions under section 25 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The constitution, by virtue of section 28(1) which deals with dual citizenship and forfeiture of Nigerian citizenship, states expressly that:
Subject to the other provisions of this section, a person shall forfeit his Nigerian Citizenship if, NOT being a citizen Nigeria by birth, he acquires or retains the citizenship or nationality of a country, other than Nigeria, of which he is not a citizen by birth.
Hon Ikengboju Gboluga therefore as a Nigerian citizen by birth cannot forfeit his citizenship if he acquires the citizenship of another country. This position has been endorsed by the Supreme Court in several cases. The possession of a secondary citizenship as in Hon Ikengboju Gbolugas’ case is therefore NOT a reason for the court to invalidate his victory at the polls. His Nigerian Citizenship by birth cannot be forfeited on any ground as posited by the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
Let it be on record, that the petitioners in this case, lost the election with a margin of well over 90,000 votes and only won in his ward in his local government with a margin of less than 20 votes.
Thus we conclude that the Tribunal should have upheld a legitimate victory rather than use technicalities that are purely procedural to seek to set aside a valid election.
Our party therefore rejects in its entirety the decision of the Tribunal which is in variance and contravention of the constitute of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and therefore would be appealing this judgment.
We enjoin all members of our party to remain calm as we retrieve this mandate at the appeal court.
Director of Publicity, PDP Ondo State.