The Supreme Court, on Thursday, affirmed the Governor-elect of Osun state, Senator Ademola Adeleke as the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the gubernatorial election that held in the state on July 16.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgement by a five-man panel of justices, dismisses an appeal that was lodged against Adeleke by Prince Dotun Babayemi who laid claim to governorship ticket of the PDP, having emerged from a parallel primary election that was held by a faction of the party in the state.
Counsel to the Appellant, Mr. Adebayo Adelodun, SAN, withdrew the appeal after the panel led by Justice Amina Augie, drew his attention to the fact that the case was statute barred.
The panel had maintained that the appeal was incompetent, stressing that it was filed outside the 14 days period provided by the law.
Tribunal: INEC Presents Blurry Adeleke’s Testimonial, Oyetola Kicks
The Election Petition Tribunal hearing case emanating from the July 16 governorship election in Osun State was forced into adjournment on Thursday following presentation of blurry documents used by the Governor Ademola Adeleke for 2018 elections.
The eight-page documents presented by a Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Joan Arabs, included Certified True Copies of the testimonial obtained by Adeleke from Ede Muslim Grammar School, and West Africa Examination Council General Certificate of Education.
The panel had last week Friday ruled that INEC chairman should bring Adeleke’s filings for 2018 poll on its next sitting.
At the day’s proceedings, after checking the documents presented by INEC, counsel to the petitioners, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, who appeared with Akin Olujinmi, SAN, told the panel that two out of the pages were not clear enough.
Fagbemi said section for scores obtained by the candidate on the GCE result was blank, adding that the address of the school that awarded the testimonial was not also clear enough.
But counsel to INEC, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN, said the copies were clear and readable, urging the plaintiffs to allow the documents to be admitted, since they had earlier claimed that they had CTC copies of the documents which could be presented.
He assured not to object to the documents if presented by the plantiffs.
Counsel to Adeleke and Peoples Democratic Party, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN and Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, respectively said the documents were clear enough, but admitted some sections were blurry.
They, however, said the documents were still rectifiable and urged the petitioners to call their next witness, while INEC should be made to present a clearer copies, if they have.
Ananaba later called for stand down of the matter to enable him obtain screenshots of the documents from the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
After the panel had reconvened, Ananaba presented both colour and back and white copies made from the screenshots obtained from INEC head office, which he also admitted were not better than the copies earlier presented.
He sought adjournment to enable INEC brought before the panel, the file from which the copies earlier presented were made from.
Fagbemi, however, insisted that the order of the court was that clear documents should be presented, saying the respondents must comply with the directive.
Reading the ruling of the panel, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Tertse Kume, adjourned the matter till Saturday for the INEC to bring the original file containing the documents.
JUST IN: Labour Party Expels Peter Obi’s DG, Okupe, 10 Others
The Labour Party in Ogun State has expelled the Director-General of the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council, Doyin Okupe.
Okupe was sacked alongside 10 others for alleged non-financial membership status, high-handedness and financial recklessness.
The Chairman of the party in Ogun State, Michael Ashade, announced the party’s decision in Abeokuta Thursday, saying the offences were a breach of the Labour Party’s constitution.
Ashade said Okupe has ceased to be a LP member for his “failure to meet the mandatory constitutional requirements to fulfill membership status.”
According to him, Okupe had failed to pay his membership dues since the last six months he joined the Party, saying he has therefore forfeited his membership of the Labour Party and he is no longer fit to act as the Director General of Obi’s campaign council.
He stated that the offenses of Okupe amd and the other 10 are against Article 9(3) sub(iii) and Article 9(3)xi of the LP constitution.
He accused Okupe of mismanaging the funds approved for the LP in Ogun to mobilize members for the rally held last week at Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
While notifying the LP National Chairman, Barr Julius Abure of their decision, they called on Obi to immediately appoint another DG for the PCC from the North.
Okupe could not be reached for his reactions as calls to his mobile phone were unanswered.
He also did not respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of this report.
Okupe is from Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Court Strikes Out Fresh Suit Seeking To Sack Rivers APC Guber Candidate
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, stuck out a suit by a governorship aspirant in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Benard Mikko, over the party’s primary elections in Rivers State.
The Governorship candidate of the APC, Tonye Cole, the Independent National Electoral Commission and another governorship aspirant of the APC Ojukaye Flagg-Amachree were also joined in the suit.
But the court ruled that the suit was lacking in merit.
Mikko had approached the court to direct INEC to disqualify Tonye Cole from next year’s Governorship election, claiming that the primary election held on 26th of May, 2022, that brought him in as the governorship candidate was marred with irregularities.
He also claimed that the candidate has a questionable character following his indictment in a white paper report by a commission of inquiry set up by the Rivers State government.
Presiding judge, Justice Ayua Phoebe in her judgment said the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the suit because the plaintiff failed to exhaust all the internal mechanisms of the party before instituting the legal action, adding that the party is supreme.
The judge, while describing the suit as frivolous and abuse of court process, ruled that Mikko also failed to abide by his earlier oath of allegiance sworn to the APC never to institute any legal action against the party and that he will support whoever emerged from the primaries.
While the counsel to the APC, Chinda Chizim commended the judgement, that of the plaintiff, Eli Ojigba said he will consult his client for his next line of action.
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