Former Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, said yesterday that having dual citizenship does not disqualify anyone who is a Nigerian by birth from contesting elections in the country.
His clarification came against the backdrop of claims that the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, and now President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s alleged possession of a Guinean passport disqualified him from contesting the just concluded general elections.
But Aondoakaa, who spoke in an interview on Arise TV, said dual citizenship could only disqualify a person who obtained such status by naturalisation or registration.
The former AGF noted that the complainants must first establish that Tinubu was not a Nigerian by birth before dual citizenship could become an issue.
He said the issue was not in the petition filed before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party counterpart, Mr Peter Obi.
Aondoakaa said: “But assuming it was in the petition, the position of the law is that a person who has dual citizenship by naturalisation or registration cannot contest for president in Nigeria.
“But a person who is born in Nigeria and acquired citizenship in another country has the right to contest an election. It would be strange to say that the winner of the election, Tinubu, has the citizenship of another country.
‘’You must prove first that he is not a Nigerian by birth. That is the first challenge and if you can prove that, then you can bring up the issue of acquiring another citizenship.
‘’The dual citizenship allegation was not included in the electoral petition of both parties and is more of an academic exercise. It is too late to amend the appeal at this stage.
“I have seen the petition of the Labour Party and it was not an issue in the petition. I am also sure it is not an issue in the petition presented by former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
‘’The argument is more of an academic exercise. It is not a ground in the petition, and at this moment, you cannot amend the petition.”