S’Court dismisses suit against Oyetola’s participation in Osun poll
The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to nullify the participation of Gboyega Oyetola and Benedict Alabi in the July 16, 2022 governorship election in Osun State.
Oyetola and Alabi were governor and deputy governor of the state under the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the July 16 election that threw up Sen. Ademola Adeleke of PDP.
In a judgment yesterday, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Centus Nweze, held that the appeal by the PDP was without merit and directed the PDP counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), to withdraw it.
The court held that the PDP could not, under the law, question the process leading to the emergence of Oyetola and Alabi as candidates of APC in the election.
The judgment was on the appeal marked: SC/CV/1645/2022.
The Court of Appeal had upheld the plea of the appellants – the APC, Oyetola and Alabi – that the trial court erred in upholding the claim by the PDP.
APC, Oyetola and Alabi had argued that the trial court’s decision was perverse and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice. They contended that by the provision of Section 84(14) of the Electoral Act 2022, only aspirants in the primary that produced Oyetola and Alabi could complain that either the Act or electoral guidelines of the political party was not complied with.
They added that the provision of Section 284 (14) (1) of the Constitution only empowered a political party to challenge the action of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where the commission failed to comply with the provision of the Act in respect of nomination of its candidates.
The appellants argued that PDP lacked the powers to challenge the nomination process of APC, a position that deprived the trial court the jurisdiction to hear the case.
Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja had, on September 30, 2022 nullified the participation of Oyetola and Alabi in the governorship election on the grounds that their nomination forms were endorsed by an acting Chairman of APC, who was also a serving governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.
Nwite’s judgment was set aside by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, in December last year, a decision the PDP appealed to the Supreme Court.