Former Lagos State governor and Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Sunday expressed doubt over constitutionally provided restrictions placed on a presidential candidate with dual citizenship from contesting elections.
The minister shared his perspective, following the emergence of photos of what appeared to be a Guinean passport with Tinubu, as its holder being widely shared online over the weekend.
The allegations of Tinubu purportedly being a citizen of both Nigeria and Guinea generated uproar among netizens, especially those opposed to his emergence as the President-elect in the February 25 election.
But Fashola, who was Tinubu’s chief of staff when he was governor of Lagos dismissed the controversy when he appeared on Channels Television programme, Politics Today on Sunday.
“I know he carries a Nigerian passport; I don’t know about dual citizenship,” Fashola, said during his live appearance ontheprogramme.
“I know he resided abroad when he went on exile. I don’t know if they gave him American citizenship there. What does that have to do with the results of the election? The last time I checked, I think Nigeria’s constitution allows you to have dual citizenship?”
Asked if the provisions cited applied to presidential candidates, the Senior Advocate Nigeria (SAN) said he would need to revisit the constitution for the specifics of its provision on the matter.
“I’ll go and check. It’s ‘place of birth’ o… if you were born to Nigerian parents. I’ll check that, but I doubt that the Nigerian constitution makes you disentitled if you have dual citizenship because the constitution allows you to have dual citizenship,” he added.
According to Section 137(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if -“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, he has made a declaration of allegiance to such other country”.
Section 28(1) of the constitution provides that “a person shall forfeit forthwith his Nigerian citizenship if, not being a citizen of Nigeria by birth, he acquires or retains the citizenship or nationality of a country, other than Nigeria, of which he is not a citizen by birth”.
The section adds, “Any registration of a person as a citizen of Nigeria or the grant of a certificate of naturalisation to a person who is a citizen of a country other than Nigeria at the time of such registration or grant shall, if he is not a citizen by birth of that other country, be conditional upon effective renunciation of the citizenship or nationality of that other country within a period of not more than five months from the date of such registration or grant.”
With Channels Television report
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