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Saraki should be able to knock the passport issue on its head

Bukola Saraki’s nationality question

The election of Bukola Saraki as senate president against the wishes of his party leadership (some say Bola Tinubu) has continued to reverberate within the ruling party, with no end in sight.

The latest chapter of the saga has involved a website publishing what it claims is a copy of Saraki’s British passport.

The British passport alleged to belong to Saraki
The British passport alleged to belong to Saraki
Click on image to enlarge

Some of the commentary on social media has suggested that the sudden appearance of the passport has Tinubu’s fingerprints all over it and is an attempt to disqualify the senate president from the position.

The Nigerian Constitution in Chapter 5, paragraph 66 states: (1) 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 key issue is highlighted above. Saraki was born in the UK. He can easily argue in court that he didn’t “voluntarily acquire” a British passport. He is British by birth. So that condition for disqualification does not apply to him.

If Tinubu or his people were behind the surfacing of the passport, they should try something else because this one is a non-starter.

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