Court nullifies suit challenging Oyebanji’s victory at primary in Ekiti
Lagos PDP Reps’ candidate asks court to dismiss suit over primary polls
A Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, dismissed a suit filed by an aspirant in the January 27 All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary, Mr. Kayode Ojo, challenging the victory of the governor-elect, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji.
Ojo, who was dissatisfied with the conduct of the primary, approached the court to challenge what he described as “gross irregularities,” and faulted the use of political appointees as an electoral committee/returning officers.
But the APC and Oyebanji, who are the first and second defendants in the suit, maintained that the direct primary held in all the 177 wards in the state were valid and in compliance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), as well as the constitution and guidelines of the party (APC).
In its ruling, the court upheld the preliminary objection of Oyebanji’s counsel, Mr. Kabir Akingbolu, that the writ of summons and statement of claims of Ojo were defective, which dealt a fatal blow to the case.
The court in a judgment delivered yesterday by the trial judge, Babs Kuewumi, threw out Ojo’s case and agreed with Oyebanji’s counsel that the discrepancies in the originating processes had rendered the case academic.
Justice Kuewumi held that the names of the counsel on the plaintiff’s originating summons and statement and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) stamp ran contrary to the law, thereby rendering the suit defective and incompetent.
According to the judge, further scrutiny of the plaintiff’s writ of summons and statement of the claim reveals two different signatures, which renders the suit invalid ab initio.
IN a related vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the House of Representatives in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Federal Constituency, Lagos State, Mr Francis Bartholomew Chima, has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos, to nullify a suit filed by the APC seeking his disqualification in the 2023 general elections.
The APC and his candidate, Mr. Paul Adeboye Kalejaiye, who is also seeking election into the same seat, have dragged Chima before Justice Daniel Osiagor, challenging his emergency as the PDP’s candidate in the coming general elections.
The claimant alleged that the party’s primary election, which produced him (PDP candidate), was not in conformity with Section 84 (13) of the new Electoral Act.
The APC and Kalejaiye in their suit filed by their counsel, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), listed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), PDP) and Chima as first to third respondents respectively.
Justice Osiagor, after listening to arguments and submission of counsel to the parties, fixed September 14, 2022, for judgment.
MEANWHILE, Oyebanji has hailed the judgment of the court affirming him as the validly-elected candidate of the APC for the June 18 governorship election in the state.
Oyebanji, in a statement made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, described the ruling as a landmark judgment, which will put to rest the controversies surrounding the primary election.
BUT Ojo said he would go to the Appeal Court to seek an injunction to upturn the judgment.
Ojo said: “The judge wrongly dismissed our case based on a technicality.
“Though we believe in the sanctity of the court, the judge erred in his judgment and we know the Appeal Court will correct the error.
“We want to appeal to Ekiti people and our teeming supporters to be patient. The race is not for the swift and not a sprint, but a marathon. Eventually, justice will be served.”