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Ogun PDP: A’court approves suit challenging Adebutu’s primary election victory

Ogun PDP: A’court approves suit challenging Adebutu’s primary election victory
September 30
14:37 2022

A court of appeal sitting in Abuja has voided a judgment given in favour of Oladipupo Adebutu, factional governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun state.

Taiwo Taiwo, trial judge at the federal high court, had declined to hear a suit by Jimi Lawal, a governorship aspirant, challenging the delegates’ list used by the party in the conduct of the primary election on May 25, 2022.

Lawal had argued that the delegates were not democratically elected at the ward congresses. However, the trial judge declined to hear the suit on the ground that it lacked jurisdiction.

Delivering a ruling on Friday, a three-member panel of the court of appeal held that the federal high court judge (now retired) was wrong to have declined jurisdiction to entertain Lawal’s suit.

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Biobele Georgewill, appeal court justice, held that the case is a pre-election matter over which the federal high court has jurisdiction.

Consequently, he issued an order asking the chief judge of the federal high court to transfer the case file to another judge, noting that the 180 days period for hearing pre-election matters is still running.

BACKGROUND OF THE SUIT

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Two factions of the PDP had conducted parallel primaries that produced Adebutu and Segun Sowunmi as candidates of the party in the 2023 governorship election.

The primary that produced Sowunmi, which was held at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta, the state capital, was said to have been monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC).

However, the primary that produced Adebutu, a former member of the house of representatives, was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo presidential library in the state capital.

Lawal had subsequently approached the court to contest the delegate list that Sikirulahi Ogundele’s faction of the party used during the primary which produced Adebutu.

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Other candidates had also approached the court to challenge the authenticity of the Ogundele-led state executive of the party.

The federal high court in Abeokuta on Tuesday nullified all the parallel governorship primaries.

The court ruled that the primaries didn’t follow the principles of the electoral act — and ordered that a rerun should be conducted within 14 days.

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