2015 Elections: Ben Bruce Faces Disqualification Over Dual Citizenship

A former Attorney General of Bayelsa state, Chief Anthony George –
Ikoli SAN has filed a suit before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja
challenging the eligibility of the Chairman of Silver Group, Ben Bruce
in contesting the Bayelsa East Senatorial District election.

Chief George -Okoli is asking the court to disqualify Ben Bruce from
contesting the election on the ground of his dual citizenship.

Bayelsa East Senatorial district comprises of three local
governments namely Brass, Nembe, and Ogbia Local governments. Four
people contested for the senatorial slot; they are Bruce, George-Ikoli,
Madam Irene Digitemi and Mr Nelson Belief. The leadership of the PDP at
the state had allegedly prevailed upon other candidates to step down for
Bruce on account of his closeness to President Goodluck Jonathan.

The originating summons filed before the court by Chief George-Ikoli seeks the court to determine the following issues:

Whether having regard to the combined provisions of Sections
66(1)(a) and 28(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria (as amended), an aspirant for the elective office of the Senator
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who whilst voluntarily acquiring
the citizenship of another country (that is the United States of
America) and in the process of which he (the aspirant) declares on oath,
the absolute and entire renunciation of citizenship of and allegiance
and fidelity to Nigeria can without more be eligible and seek election
to the office of Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
Whether
an aspirant to the elective office of the Senator of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, who has declared under oath, that “he will support
and defend the constitution of the United States of America, and he
absolutely and entirely renounces and abjures all allegiance and
fidelity to every prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, (including
the Federal Republic of Nigeria) of whom or which he was heretofore a
subject or citizen” is eligible by the clear provisions of the
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended);

Whether a citizen of the United States of America whose citizenship
is voluntarily acquired by subscription to the “Naturalization Oath of
Allegiance to the United States of America” and which oath absolutely
and entirely abjures allegiance to a foreign prince, potentate, state or
sovereignty, of whom or which he was heretofore a subject or citizen is
eligible by the plurality of the provisions of the constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to contest for the elective
office of Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Whether the third defendant is not wrong to accept the nomination of
the first defendant by the second defendant as its nominee for election
to the office of Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District
at the forth coming 2015 National Assembly elections in view of the
renunciation of the citizenship of Nigeria by the first defendant’s
subscription to the absolute, unconditional and entire oath of
allegiance of the United States of America;

Whether the first defendant having voluntarily subscribed to the
absolute oath of allegiance to the United States of America and acquired
its citizenship is not hereby ineligible to contest for the office of
Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and

Whether the second defendant is not wrong to present the first
defendant as its candidate for the election to the office of Senator
representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District

In a 15 paragraph affidavit deposed to by Chief George-Ikoli, he
alleged that after the primary elections at which he came second, he
undertook an independent investigations of the entire process leading to
the primaries and discovered that the first defendant had disclosed in
the affidavit he deposed to in INEC form C.F 001 that he had voluntarily
acquired the citizenship of the United States of America and owes
allegiance to that country.

He stated further: “I was shell shocked to know that the third
defendant cleared the first defendant to run for Bayelsa East Senatorial
District election when it is apparent on the face of the affidavit that
he had voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than
Nigeria”.

He therefore asked the court to declare that the candidature of the
first defendant suffers legal disability, and therefore an order
disqualifying him from contesting forth coming Bayelsa East Senatorial
District elections.

billionbill

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