By Ebere Agozie
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, dismissed four appeals filled by the Ogun state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship legal battle.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, leading a panel of five man Justices, dismissed the appeals following their withdrawals by the respective lawyers.
The appeals instituted by the governorship aspirants, Otunba Jimi Lawal and some ward delegates were dismissed on the grounds that the appellants had no cause of action.
In one of the appeals, filed by Tayo Olabode against the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun state, Oladipupo Adebutu, the appeal was dismissed on the ground that the delegates who filed the action lacked locus standi (legal right) to do so.
It was agreed that the delegates who claimed to have been disenfranchised in the PDP primary election that produced Adebutu cannot initiate any court action against the primary election since they were not aspirants in the election.
The apex court held that the law is clear that only an aspirant in a primary election conducted for the purpose of nominating candidates for election, can lawfully challenge the outcome and not any other party member.
In another appeal, that was predicatesd on the failure to serve originating summon on the defendant, the court held that since the aggrieved defendant participated in the matter from the beginning to the end, the issue of service can no longer take the front burner.
Tayo Olabode, who led a team of the ward delegates, had in his suit on behalf of his colleagues, alleged that they were disenfranchised from participating in the governorship primary election.
Specifically, he requested the court to quash the primary election that produced Adebutu on the ground that unlawful delegates conducted the primary election.
The apex court unanimously agreed that notwithstanding the anger of the aggrieved ward delegates, they are not legally permitted to challenge a primary election in which they were not aspirants.
Based on the findings, the appellant lawyers Chikwudi Enebeli and Deji Eniseyin, said that they were painfully withdrawing the cases of their clients.
kekere-Ekun, consequently dismissed the appeals on the ground that they have no legs to stand upon.
Recall that the apex court had in a lead judgment by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa ordered speedy hearing of the suit after holding that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter.
In line with the Supreme Court’s order, on December 1, 2022,. a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, dismissed a suit by Otunba Adebisi Lawal, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, seeking to remove Oladipupo Adebutu, as candidate of the 2023 Ogun state PDP governorship election.
Lawal and Adebutu,
had both lay claim to the gubernatorial candidate of the party ahead the 2023 general elections.
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo in a judgment held that
he did not see any concrete documentary evidence by the plaintiff to support his claim that an unlawful delegate list was used by the PDP to conduct the April 30, Ward Congress in Ogun state.
The court noted that the plaintiff, by the suit, played a role of a spoiler, and held that the suit is a product of an after thought.
It was the opinion of the court that the Plaintiff had in a further affifavit, included pleadings not contained in the originating summons.
“I have no reason to say that the primary election was invalid, null and void.
“Upon reviewing the evidence, I find that the plaintiff attempted to use a further affidavit to amend his originating summons.
“The case of the plaintiff has been debunked by exhibits of the defendants.
“I find that the case of the plaintiff lacks credible evidence and I make an order dismissing the case,” the judge said. (NAN)