The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Thursday, upturned the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the election of Hon. Ikengboju Gboluga of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as the member representing Okitipupa/Irele federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
Gboluga was sacked by the Election Petition tribunal in July for swearing allegiance to the United Kingdom having acquired the citizenship of the country. The tribunal subsequently declared Albert Akintoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the election conducted on February 23, 2019, and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to Akintoye after withdrawing same from Gboluga.
Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgment, Gboluga filed an appeal against the judgment.
But in a unanimous judgment by the trio of Appeal Court Justices: the court ruled that a Nigerian citizen by birth cannot be disqualified from contesting election because he acquired additional citizenship of other countries and sworn an oath of allegiance of such countries.
The Appeal Court said the trial tribunal was wrong to have sacked Ikengboju Gboluga – a Nigerian citizen by birth based on his acquisition of additional citizenship and the swearing of oath of allegiance of such country.
The Appellate court accused the trial tribunal of speaking from both sides of the mouth and interpreting the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wrongfully. The Court however voided the judgment of the tribunal and upheld the election of Ikengboju Gboluga as duly elected representative of the good people of Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency.