A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Friday sacked the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Biyi Otegbeye and 26 other assembly flagbearers of the party.
Otegbeye, a lawyer, is the anointed candidate of the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
The Labour Party in the state had dragged ADC candidates to court over alleged non-compliance to the Electoral Act in the conduct of the party’s primaries.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Akintayo Aluko nullified Otegbeye’s candidacy as well as the party’s State Assembly candidates.
Aluko held that the primary election which produced Otegbeye and the state assembly candidates was not monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court affirmed that the primaries election were held in violation of the Electoral Act.
The court ruled that Otegbeye and the assembly candidates are not the valid candidates of ADC for the 2023 governorship and state assembly elections.
The court therefore ordered INEC to expunge names of Otegbeye and the 26 legislative candidates from the list of candidates cleared for next year’s elections.
Reacting, counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants (ADC and all the candidates), Tunde Falola, hinted that the party would study details of the judgement and proceed on an appeal.
Falola said “The court has given judgement in its own wisdom and it is favour of the plaintiff. As you know, this is a contest, one way or the other it has to go the way it goes, but that is no the end of the case, we have applied and we have indicated to the court that we are very interested in having access to the judgement as quick as possible with the view to sit down and analyse the judgement with the view of taking further steps in respect of the judgement.
“Constitutionally, every Nigerian, every party before the court whose judgement has been given against has the right, constitutional right to approach the higher court and ventilate his or her grievances. There are some areas which we feel we disagree with judgement of his lordship, that we intend to explore before the court of appeal.
“There are some areas which we feel that the positions of the lordship do not accord with the position of law, that is what we intend to explore.”
The LP Legal Counsel, Monday Mawah described the judgment as welcome development.
Mawah said, “Simply put, what transpired in court today is victory for rule of law and democracy. We brought an action to the court challenging the decision of INEC to countenance the list of candidates that purportedly emerged in primaries that never took place by the ADC.
“When the final list of candidates were published, we were surprised to see the names of candidates of ADC and then we went to court to say if the Electoral Act says INEC must monitor primaries and then a primary was purportedly done without inviting INEC, that primary in the eye of the law is invalid and the court answered that question in the negative that the primary in which INEC was never invited can never be valid in the eye of the law and that any candidate that purportedly emerged from such primary must be removed and that was what the court did today.
“The court agreed with us and said in the eye of the law there was no primary since there was no primary any name purportedly put on that list for ADC should be removed.”