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  • Politics
  • Updated: Jan 13, 2021

Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Akeredolu’s Reelection

Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Akeredolu’s Reelection

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit challenging the validity of the primary election which produced Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the July 20 primary election.

Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, Justice Iyang Ekwo held that the case instituted by Olajumoke Anifowose was statute-barred having been filled outside 14 days allowed by law for a pre-election matter provided in Section 185(9) of Nigeria constitution.

Akeredolu was declared the winner of the October 11, 2020 governorship election in the state after polling 292,830 votes to defeat his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP, who scored 195,791 votes.

The plaintiff had in the suit filed on her behalf by her lawyer, Adesina Oke, challenged the indirect primary election which produced Akeredolu as the nominated governorship candidate of APC.

According to her, Section 87 of the Electoral Act and Article 20 of the APC constitution and other relevant election guidelines were violated in the primary election by the State Executive Committee and Local Government Committee of APC that conducted the primary election.

Anifowose, therefore, applied for an order of the court declaring the primary election as invalid.

She also prayed the court to prohibit APC from submitting Akeredolu’s name as its governorship candidate and stop parading himself as a gubernatorial candidate.

But Justice Ekwo upheld the preliminary objection against the suit by Akeredolu and APC who claimed that the Court action was grossly incompetent as it was not filed within 14 days required by law and by that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

READ ALSO: Ondo Decides 2020: Security During Ondo Poll Will Be Better Than Edo - IGP

Although Justice Ekwo stressed that Akeredolu was nominated by APC on July 20, and the plaintiff instituted the suit on July 29, which fell within 14 days stipulated by law, the suit, however, became incompetent due to the withdrawal of the initial originating summons and its substitution on August 20 by the plaintiff.

The Court held that the substitution of the second originating summon was done outside 14 days required by law, and therefore became an invalid suit by the provision of section 285 of the 1999 constitution.

The Judge said, “Let me make it clear that a careful perusal of facts in this matter showed that the first defendant, Akeredolu was nominated on July 20, 2020, and the plaintiff came to court on July 29, 2020.

“A new dimension, however, emerged when the plaintiff on August 20, 2020, substituted the originating summon of the July 29, with another one due to the error discovered in the first one that sued the office of the governor that did not participle in the disputed primary.

“This substitution having not been done within 14 days allowed by Section 285 of the 1999 constitution, makes this suit statued barred and constitutionally dead.”

Justice Ekwo subsequently dismissed the suit on the ground that it was grossly incompetent to stand in the face of the law

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