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Former Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola
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Participation In Osun Guber Election: S/Court Dismisses Suit Against Oyetola

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The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to restore the nullification of the participation of Osun’s ex-governor Gboyega Oyetola and his deputy Benedict Alabi in the July 16, 2022 governorship election.

A five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Centus Nweze on Thursday held that the appeal by the PDP lacked merit and directed the counsel to the PDP Kehinde Ogunwumiju 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 the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja had in a judgment 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.

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The court held that Buni acted in contravention of the provision of Section 183 of the Constitution when he held dual executive positions as the Governor of Yobe and the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of APC.

It maintained that decisions taken by governor Buni, including the forwarding of the names of Oyetola and Alabi, to the INEC, amounted to a nullity in law.

The judgement followed a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/468/2022, which was filed by the PDP.

Justice Nwite’s judgment was set aside by the Court of Appeal, Abuja in a judgment in December last year, a decision the PDP was dissatisfied with.

However, dissatisfied with the verdict, the APC went to the Court of Appeal and obtained an order that set it aside.

In the notice of appeal it filed through its team of lawyers led by Dr. Abiodun Layonu, SAN, APC, argued that the high court judgement was not only perverse, but occasioned grave miscarriage of justice against it.

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It contended that the PDP lacked the requisite locus standi to instituted the action.

APC argued that going by the provision of section 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022, only an aspirant that participated in the primary election that produced governor Oyetola and his deputy, could complain that either the Act or electoral guidelines of the political party, was not complied with in the selection or nomination of a candidate for an election.

It maintained that section 284 (14) (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, only empowered a political party to challenge the action of iNEC, where the commission failed to comply with the provision of the Act in respect of nomination of its candidates.

The Appellant further insisted that PDP was bereft of the legal right to query issues that relate to the internal affair of another political party.

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More so, APC, argued that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate on PDP’s suit which it said was statute barred since the act complained of by the 1st Respondent (PDP), came into existence on or before March 18, 2022 and not March 25, 2022.

It argued that the trial court’s reliance on section 82 (3) 84 (13) and 29 of the Electoral Act, 2022, to disqualify its candidates was erroneous and perverse.

“That it did not admit anywhere that the members of the defunct Caretaker Committee/Extra-Ordinary Planning Committee(CCEPC) coordinated the primary that produced the 3rd and 4th respondents as the Appellant’s Governorship candidates and no such issue was raised by the PDP”, the APC added.

It, therefore, successfully persuaded the appellate court to vacate the high court judgement, a decision the Supreme Court upheld on Thursday.

Comrade James Ezema is a veteran journalist and media consultant. He is a political strategist. He can be reached on +2348035823617 via call or WhatsApp.

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