The National President for Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAND), Igbini Emmanuel, says Femi Gbajabiamila is free to contest the Speakership position of the 9th House of Representatives.
Concise News learned that Emmanuel in a statement on Monday disclosed that Gbajabiamila can contest the election despite the allegations levelled against him that he was being convicted in 2007 by the Supreme Court of Georgia in the United States of America.
VATLAND President said Section 66 (1c and d) of the constitution “only disqualifies people from contesting if convicted within a period of fewer than 10 years before the date of an election.”
Emmanuel said: “Femi Gbajabiamila was said to have been convicted by the Supreme Court of Georgia more than 10 years before February 23, 2019, being the date of the election for the 9th House of Representatives of Nigeria.
“It is very important for us to mention and inform Nigerians that ‘double jeopardy’ in a criminal case is highly prohibited by the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America which also applies to the State of Georgia and the Supreme Court of Georgia which allegedly convicted Femi Gbajabiamila over 10 years ago.
“It also applies to Nigeria in regard to a resident of the US. The Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment is part of the critical Bill of Rights of persons which provides the right of defendants to be tried only once for the same offence.
“To deprive Femi Gbajabiamila of his constitutional right to vie for the Office of the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the same alleged offence will amount to double jeopardy that must not be tolerated and allowed in the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.”
He further said: “The allegation of perjury against Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for purpose of seeking his disqualification from NASS can only be a pre-election matter not post-election.
“Except and until there is a proof that a suit was properly filed against him before the February 23, 2019, National Assembly elections, any suit filed outside such period shall be statute-barred and therefore no court of law in Nigeria shall have jurisdiction to hear any such matter.”