The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and several other lawmakers risk losing their seats following a recent ruling by an Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal.
The tribunal on July 31, 2019, sacked Mr Ikengboju Gboluga, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party representing Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency of Ondo State for having dual citizenship and thereafter ordered that Mr Albert Akintoye of the All Progressives Congress be issued the Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The tribunal headed by Justice Nuhu Adi ruled that Gboluga was not eligible to contest the 2019 National Assembly election, having admitted in his INEC Form CF001 that he had “voluntarily acquired the citizenship of the United Kingdom” and had sworn allegiance to the country.
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.”
The 109 senators, four admitted in their INEC forms on oath that they had voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country.
However, top sources told one of our correspondents that the figure could be much higher, adding that most of the lawmakers in this category either had the United States or UK citizenship, noting that the lawmakers were not born abroad but became citizens by naturalisation, that is, swearing the oath of allegiance to these countries.
They include Senate President Lawan, who represents Yobe North senatorial district; Senators Opeyemi Bamidele of Ekiti-Central; Teslim Folarin, representing Oyo Central; and Ibrahim Bomai of Yobe South.
In his form CF001, Bamidele said he was a US citizen and had also sworn allegiance to the country.
Responding to a question on whether he had voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country, Bamidele answered, “Yes, the United States of America where I was granted political asylum.”