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Osun APC Primary: Suit Against Oyetola Dismissed, Plaintiff expresses Dissatisfaction

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By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo

The suit challenging the emergency of Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Osun State, has been dismissed.

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja presided over by Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo, who gave the ruling dismissed the suit for lack of merit.

Recalled that a  governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC, Kunle Adegoke had, in an Originating Summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/804/2018,  approached the court to nullify the primaries of the party that produced Mr Gboyega Oyetola and declare it unlawful.

The Originating Summons brought pursuant to section 87(9) of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended, Order 3 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure), Rules 2009.

Handling down his ruling on Friday, Justice Ekwo said ” A political party can adopt whatever method for the conduct of its primary election, and there is sufficient evidence before the Court that the Party took a decision to adopt direct primary. The Plaintiff is bound by this decision.

“I answer the questions in the Originating Summons in the Negative, I answer the sole issue of the 1st Defendant in the positive. I find the suit to be lacking in merit and hereby dismiss it.

“On rescheduling: There is no evidence before the Court that the Plaintiff was not carried along with the rescheduling, however the complaint of the Plaintiff is that there was no written communication to the 2nd Defendant contrary to the provision of the Regulations. ”

“However, the Regulation is not cast in stone, INEC has the power to waive it. There is evidence before the Court that officers of INEC were present at the primaries despite the short notice. If there’s anyone who should complain, it is INEC. The Plaintiff can not complain about non compliance with the Regulation when INEC did not complain.

“On the issue of no register of members: There is evidence before the Court that copies of the register of members were made available to the aspirants. In fact, the Plaintiff was invited to apply for a copy.

“I hold that APC conducted the primary election within its powers, I am unable to see any breach that is capable of moving me to nullify the primary election. I have seen no evidence of a breach of the constitution of the FRN. I have seen no evidence of a breach of the Electoral Act.

“I find no illegality in the conduct of the direct primary capable of moving the court to intervene.

However, there’s an issue of locus standi in the objection of the 3rd and 4th Defendant to be decided on.

“It was canvassed that the Plaintiff stands expelled from the APC for filing this case. I overruled this ground because there is no evidence before me to establish this assertion.

“The Plaintiff is entitled to sue pursuant to Section 87(9). The objection of the 3rd and 4th Defendants is equally overruled and dismissed.”

“I also hold that this Court has and can exercise jurisdiction in this case.”

Reacting, Barrister Kunle Adegoke who appreciated the judge for the judgement expressed his dissatisfaction over the judgement.

He said: “While we thank His Lordship for the judgment given in record time, it is however interesting that we have many reasons to disagree with the judgment.

“The court in its reasoning disagreed with our claims and dismissed our case contrary to all known precedents in the abundance of which the court was not made to suffer a paucity. History has just repeated itself as we were reminded of the cases of Awolowo v. Shagari, Buhari v. Obasanjo, Aregbesola v. Oyinlola (Naron’s judgment) and a host of others in which justice became a scarce commodity difficult to come by.

“It is impossible to align with an opinion that makes a party to be superior to its constitution, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the statutes that have been pronounced upon by the highest court in the land in earlier cases that are on all fours with our own. ”

“Notwithstanding this interesting development, we emphasise our unrelenting faith in the judiciary as a body. We commend the forefathers who thought of a democratic constitution for us without limiting our fortunes to a single-court judicial structure without appellate opportunities. We also congratulate the ‘winners’ of today’s judgment but caution them in expressions of celebrations as this pyrric victory shall not last.”

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