Dr Adetokunbo Pearse, Media Director of Babatunde Gbadamosi, PDP Candidate in the forthcoming Lagos East Senatorial bye-election, says he is not guilty of character defamation level against him by APC candidate, Mr Tokunbo Abiru.
Pearse said that, in a full page advertisement in the Punch and Nation Newspapers of Oct. 10, Abiru through his attorney PINHEIRO LP demanded that he should apologise to him for defaming his character.
According to him, Abiru noted that his character has been defamed though a statement recently issued by Pearse and entitled “Why Adetokunbo Mukhail Abiru should be Disqualified from the Lagos East Senatorial Race”.
Pearse said: “Allow me to state unequivocally that I have nothing to apologise for. I did not initiate any case against him, nor did I instigate anyone to accuse him of any crime or misdemeanor.
“I merely referred to information already in the public domain.”
The Gbadamosi spokesperson said that all issued raised against Abiru in the said report were already in public domain and media space before his write up.
“According to the media, Mr Abiru is in possession of two Permanent Voter’s Cards (2 PVCs). PVC 1 (90F5BO5EEB295604194) and PVC 2 (90F5AFEA90418213518). PVC 1. was obtained in 2011. Occupation reads : Other. Name reads : ABIRU ADETOKUNBO MUKHAIL.
“PVC 2 was obtained in 2014. Occupation reads: Business, and Name is stated as ABIRU, MUKHAIL ADETOKUNBO.
“It is the inconsistency in date of obtaining the PVCs, the different occupational status, and the different names that creates the impression that Mr. Abiru intended to mislead INEC into issuing him those two cards, obtained through multiple registration.”
Pearse reiterated that with the above Mr Abiru had committed a transgression which carried a penalty as stated in his statement.
He said that according to the section 16 and subsection 2 of the Electoral Act, ” No voter shall hold more than one valid voters’ card.
“And the subsection 3 says ‘any person who contravenes subsection 2 of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N100,000 OR imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.”
Pearse said that another issue pertinent to INEC raised, was that Mr Abiru, by his own submission to INEC, and as evidenced by the address on his Permanent Voter’s Cards, resides in Eti-Osa, Lagos Central Senatorial District.
“Therefore, Mr. Abiru cannot vote in the Lagos East Senatorial District, and any vote cast for him there is a wasted vote. How can he even be on the ballot ? In which poling unit will his name appear on election day?
“Has he ever voted in the Senatorial district (Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Somolu), if so, with which voter’s card.?
” As for the the question of Mr Abiru’s credentials as a banker which his law firm emphasised in the newspaper letter to me, I do not doubt his record of accomplishments.”
The spokesman added that he did not initiate any allegation of corruption against Abiru but he only wrote on what some past publications stated about him as a former bank executive.
“I did not initiate them, neither did I instigate, nor encourage anyone to produce them. Mr Abiru is he who should apologise, first to family and friends.
“Next he should apologise to the voters of Lagos East Senatorial district for parading himself as a viable candidate.
“Anyone seeking public office must expect to face public scrutiny. If Mr Abiru is not ready to see more of his dirty laundry washed in public, he is advised to withdraw from the Lagos East Senatorial race with immediate effect.” Pearse said.
Newsheraldng reports that 12 political parties and their candidates will be contesting Lagos East Senatorial bye-election while eight will be participating in Kosofe State Constituency II, Lagos State House of Assembly bye-election.
The bye-elections became imperative following the vacancies created by the demise of occupants who were both members of APC in the state.