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How Akeredolu Narrowly Escaped Losing Governorship Suit

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How Akeredolu Narrowly Escaped Losing Governorship Suit

Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) narrowly escaped losing his governorship on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court upheld Akeredolu’s victory in the last governorship election in Ondo State.

But the judgment was delivered after one hour of anxiety and a split decision of four to three.

In the majority judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, four of the seven-member panel, dismissed the appeal by Eyitayo Jegede and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the grounds that it was incompetent.

READ ALSO: Buhari May Completely Wreck Nigeria Before 2023 -Northern Elders

Justice Agim upheld an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal that the petition filed by Jegede and his party at the election tribunal was incompetent because they failed to include the Yobe State Governor and Chairman of ther Caretaker Committee of the APC, Mai Mala Buni as a party.

In the minority judgment read by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the court upheld the appeal and dismissed the cross appeal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Akeredolu and the APC.

Odili and two other members of the panel were of the view that since the APC, for which Buni acted, was a party in the case, there was no need to include him as a party.

 

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Ekiti SSG Oyebanji Resigns From Cabinet, To Contest For Governor

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Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has accepted the resignation of Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, from his cabinet.

The resignation which was conveyed in a letter to the governor, dated December 3, 2021, takes effect from Tuesday, December 7th.

According to a statement by Yinka Oyebode, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Oyebanji had cited his decision to contest the forth-coming governorship election in the state for his resignation as Secretary to the State Government.

Governor Fayemi in accepting Oyebanji’s resignation, thanked the former SSG for his remarkable contribution to the administration since inception in 2018 and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Ekiti 2022: Fayemi Gives Dec 18 Deadline To Governorship Aspirants To Resign

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Ekiti 2022:Fayemi Gives Dec 18 Deadline To Governorship Aspirants To Resign

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has directed anyone serving in his government who would like to contest the governorship primaries to tender his or her resignation latest by December 18th.

The directive was contained in a statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Insurgency Has Declined Under Buhari – Fayemi

The development, according to the statement, became imperative in order to ensure cohesion and excellent service delivery – two major hallmarks of the administration- remain uncompromised.

In compliance with directives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State has slated the governorship primaries for January, ahead of the June 2022 governorship election.

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Court Affirms Election Of Soludo As Anambra Governor

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Court Affirms Election Of Soludo As Anambra Governor

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday declined to nullify the election of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as the governor of Anambra State.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, dismissed a suit that sought to invalidate Soludo’s election on the allegation that he supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC).

The Plaintiffs, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, had in their suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, alleged that Soludo lied in the affidavit (Form EC9), which he submitted to INEC.

They claimed that Soludo, in the said affidavit attached to his nomination form, stated that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat, when, in fact, he was contesting the governorship seat.

More so, they told the court that an affidavit Soludo’s running mate and Deputy Governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim, also submitted to INEC, contained false particulars considering that he stated that he was vying for Awka 2 Constituency seat.

Cited as defendants in the suit were the INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Soludo and the Deputy Governor-elect, Ibezim.

The plaintiffs, through their lawyers, , A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, argued that having indicated the wrong seat on the form, Soludo, violated extant legal provisions and ought to be disqualified.

“The constitution has made a state a constituency in relation to the governorship election, but in this case, the third defendant (Soludo) named Aguata 2 as the constituency he is contesting.

“The cause of action in a pre-election matter, by the provision of Section 285(9) of the Constitution, is determined by the date of the occurrence of the event, a decision or action complained about in the suit by the plaintiff.

“And in the instant suit, the cause of action of the plaintiffs arose on July 6, 2021, when the 3rd Defendant’s (Soludo’s) Form EC9 was submitted by the political party (the 2nd Defendant)”, they argued.

However, counsel for APGA and Soludo, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, queried jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter which he maintained was statue barred.

Aside from contending that the suit was filed outside the 14 days period stipulated by the Constitution, Ikpeazu, argued that error in an affidavit could not be a basis to disqualify a candidate from an election.

He argued that the false information claimed by the plaintiffs was not among the grounds stated in the 1999 Constitution for the disqualification of a candidate.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Affirms Soludo As APGA Governorship Candidate For Anambra Poll

“False information, as envisaged in Section 31 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature. Section 31 does not deal with error, but a deliberate effort to steal a match and to misrepresent”, he added.

On its part, INEC, through its lawyer, Bashir Abubakar, said it would leave the issue to the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, in his judgement on Wednesday, though Justice Taiwo dismissed the preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit and jurisdiction of the court to hear it, he however held that the plaintiffs, failed to establish that they had a reasonable cause of action.

Justice Taiwo held that the plaintiffs failed to convince the court on how the alleged false information both Soludo and Ibezim supplied to INEC, misled them.

The court held that since the allegation by the plaintiffs was also criminal in nature, it ought to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

It held that the suit was filed in bad faith and a good example of cases that are not geared towards strengthening of the tenets of democracy in the country.

“I am yet to come to terms on the purpose for which this suit was filed. I am saying this because I am not convinced that this action is reasonable”, Justice Taiwo added.

Consequently, the court awarded N2million cost against the plaintiffs, in favour of the APGA, Soludo and Ibezim.

 

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