By Taiye Agbaje
A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Thursday, fixed Dec. 1 for judgment in a suit filed by Mr Jimi Lawal, an aggrieved governorship aspirant in the May 25 Ogun Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s primary election.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date after counsel to the parties adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against the suit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lawal, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/773/22, had sued the PDP, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Mr Oladipupo Adebutu as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
Lawal, who contested the May 25 governorship primary poll of the PDP, had challenged the emergence of Adebutu as party’s candidate.
He alleged that an unlawful delegates list was used by the party to conduct its election.
Lawal, among others, had prayed that the purported primary election of May 25 be cancelled and another be conducted with the authentic ad-hoc delegates.
NAN reports that the matter, which was earlier before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of a FHC, was, however, dismissed on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Justice Taiwo, in his judgment delivered on July 29, held that the primary election was a domestic affair of any political party.
Not satisfied, Lawal approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja with a prayer that the decision of the FHC be voided and set aside on the ground of miscarriage of justice.
A three-man panel of justices of the Court of Appeal in their judgment delivered on September 30, agreed with Jimi Lawal, set aside the judgment of the FHC and ordered that the suit be heard on its merit.
The PDP, also not satisfied with the Court of Appeal’s decision, approached the Supreme Court, praying that the judgment of the Federal High Court be upheld to the effect that the conduct of the primary election is its domestic affair.
The Supreme Court, on Monday, dismissed an appeal brought before it by the PDP.
The apex court ordered that the suit instituted by Lawal be remitted to the FHC for a fresh trial.
Delivering Judgement, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa held that the FHC was wrong in declining jurisdiction in the matter of Lawal.
The apex Court agreed with the Court of Appeal in Abuja that the FHC had jurisdiction under Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 84 [14) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to hear the matter on its merit.
The Supreme Court, therefore, ordered that the case be remitted to the Chief Judge of the FHC for determination by another judge other than Justice Taiwo who refused to entertain the suit.
Upon resumed hearing on Thursday, Lawal’s counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi, urged the court to uphold his submission while Mr Chris Uche:SAN, who appeared for PDP and Adebutu, prated the court to grant his preliminary objection and dismiss the suit in its entirety for being frivolous and lacking in merit.
After listening to the lawyers, including counsel to the INEC, Bashir Abubakar, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Dec. 1 for judgment.(NAN)