The Ibadan division of the Court of Appeal on November 28, affirmed Oladipupo Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State.
The penultimate Court in twin appeals marked: CA/IB/411/2022 & CA/IB/411A/2022 filed by PDP & Adebutu respectively, set aside the High Court Judgements and upheld the appeals.
The party had on May 25 conducted the primary election, which produced Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party.
Ogun PDP held three parallel primaries with one producing Hon. Ladi Adebutu as governorship candidate which the PDP National Working Committee has backed.
Not satisfied with the PDP NWC’s position, Prince Adesegun Seriki & 3 Ors in Suit No: FHC/AB/CS/87/2022 approached the Abeokuta division of the Federal High Court with INEC & 11 Ors as respondents, challenging the authenticity of the delegates’ lists used for the conduct of the primary.
In likewise manner, three members of the Party loyal to another aggrieved aspirant, Adebisi Lawal approached the same Court on same reliefs. Taiwo Olabode-Idris, Kehinde Akala, and Ayinde Monsuri (on behalf of 380 delegates) in suit No: FHC/AB/CS/83/2022 asked the Court to nullify the Governorship Primaries having been conducted with a list involving adhoc delegates that did not democratically emerge.
The plaintiffs contended that, the persons on delegates’ list used by electoral panel for the primaries were not democratically elected at the ward, local government and state congresses, hence, the panel “cannot unilaterally or arbitrarily impose” the list on the party for the primaries.
On September 27, Justice Oluremi Omowunmi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court in Abeokuta invalidated the Governorship Primaries in one suit and in the order nullified the Primaries that produced all Candidates in the Ogun PDP. He further ordered a fresh Primary in 14 days to accommodate all interests.
“I hereby Order that fresh primary elections be conducted by the current Ogun State Executives of the 2nd Defendant (Peoples Democratic Party) for the nomination of candidates for elective positions i.e House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senatorial and Governorship elections within 14 days.”
Dissatisfied with the rulings, the National Working Committee of the PDP and Adebutu appealed both judgements.
In a unanimous ruling on Monday, Justice Folasade Ayodeji Ojo JCA, of the Appeal Court, who read the lead judgement affirmed the positions of the appellants. Other Justices on the Panel, Moore Aseimo Abraham Adumein JCA (PJ) and Yargata Byenchit Nimpar JCA were in concurrence.
Justice Ojo dismissed the objection of Prince Segun Seriki claiming non personal service of notice of appeal before delving into the merits of the substantive matter.
“Only the National Working Committee of the PDP is vested to conduct Primaries. Primaries conducted by any State EXCO is unknown to law”… She held.
“The appeal court therefore sets aside the judgments of Justice O. Oguntoyinbo that the Federal High lacked jurisdiction to have entertained the suit filed by appellants who had no locus standi.”
Justice Ojo directed the Independent National Electoral Commission to reinstate all PDP candidates.