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Ogun PDP: S’court dismisses Adebutu’s appeal, orders high court to hear Jimi Lawal’s suit

Ogun PDP: S’court dismisses Adebutu’s appeal, orders high court to hear Jimi Lawal’s suit
November 21
20:39 2022

The supreme court has dismissed an appeal brought before it by a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to affirm Oladipupo Adebutu as Ogun governorship candidate of the party.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by a five-member panel on Monday, the apex court held that the Abuja federal high court was wrong to have declined jurisdiction to hear the suit brought before it by Jimi Lawal, governorship aspirant of the party.

The apex court agreed with the judgment of the Abuja court of appeal that the high court has jurisdiction under section 285 of the 1999 constitution and section 84 (14) of the Electoral Act 2022 to hear the pre-election matter.

Consequently, the apex court ordered that the case be remitted to the chief judge of the federal high court for reassignment to another judge who would hear the case on its merit.

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The panel also ordered speedy trial as the case is time-bound.

BACKGROUND

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

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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 the Sikirulahi Ogundele faction of the party used during the primary which produced Adebutu.

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

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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.

But on September 30, 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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