Ondo election: Court rules in suit challenging Akeredolu’s candidacy

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, fixed December 14 for judgment in a suit challenging the validity of the primary election that produced Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the October 10 election.

The Judge, Justice Okon Abang fixed the date following arguments from all parties in the suit with number: FHC/ABJ/CS/886/2020 filed on August 3 by Dr Nath Adojutelegan, an APC governorship aspirant in the state election.

NAN reports that in the suit, Akeredolu, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.

Adojutelegan, who along with others lost the primary election to Akeredolu, had challenged the election’s result.

In the suit, the plaintiff alleged that the exercise was marred by a grave and substantial noncompliance with the spirit and purpose of the APC’s Constitution, Electoral Guidelines and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), which he argued: “substantially affected the outcome of the primary election.”

He said the delegates’ list used for the primary violated section 87(7) and (8) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), Article 20 (iii) and (iv) (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the APC Constitution 2014 (as amended) and Electoral Guidelines.

However, at the resumed hearing on Friday, Abdulaziz Sani, the INEC Lawyer, on whose instance the case was adjourned in the last sitting, told the court that he had finally served all the defendants as well as the plaintiff in the matter, copies of his counter-affidavit.

He said, “I also ensured a copy was filed in the court file.

“The counter affidavit was filed on August 17. It is a two-paragraph application. It has one exhibit called Exhibit INEC.

“We have a written address dated August 14 and adopt the same.

“Considering the nature of the dispute, we’ll only be bound by the court decision.”

In his ruling, Justice Abang said the matter would be adjourned for judgment.

According to him, he would first make a finding on the 1st and 2nd defendants’ preliminary objections, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.

“Where the objection sustains, that’ll be the end of this matter,” he held.

“However, in the event, the objections are overruled, and I assumed jurisdiction, the court will then make findings on the substantive matter on its merit.”

The judge, then, adjourned the matter until December 14 for judgment.

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