Friday 2 December 2022

Appeal Court Affirms Nomination of Gboyega Oyetola as APC Candidate in July 16 Osun Governorship Election

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, in appeal no: CA/ABJ/CV/1099/2022 between Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola & Anor v PDP & Ors, has this afternoon affirmed Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola and his running mate, Benedict Alabi, as the authentic candidates of the All Progressives Congress in the July 16 Governornship Election in Osun State.

By this judgement, the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, delivered by  Justice Emeka Nwite, nullifying the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi as the APC candidates in the governorship election has been set aside.

In allowing the appeal filed by Oyetola and his party, APC, the Court of Appeal held that outcome of a governorship primary is a collective decision of a party, through its congress, and constitutional challenge or deformity of any officer of the party cannot render it illegal.

The Court, therefore, held that nothwithstanding the defects in the letter forwarding the nomination and sponsorship of Oyetola and his deputy to INEC, the fact that they emerged from a valid primary cannot be ruled out; thus, the defect of Buni signing the letter conveying the nomination of the appellants cannot be a ground to reject the results and desire of party’s primary election.

Regarding the question of immunity of Governor Mai Mala Buni, who submitted the nomination of the Appellant to the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC), the Court equally held that Buni cannot be sued because the immunity enjoyed by him guaranteed him against civil and criminal suits.

In the ruling which lasted more than one hour, the appellate court questioned Justice Nwite for his failure not to consider a classical precedent judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Jegede v INEC before he arrived at his judgement.

The Court of Appeal came hard on the high court judge and award the cost of N200,000 in favour of the Appelant.

Recall that on September 30, 2022, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has nullified the nomination of Governor Isiaka Oyetola and his Deputy Governorship candidate, Benedict Alabi.

In his judgment, Justice Emeka Nwite agreed with the submissions of the Plaintiff’s counsel and declared as null and void, the nomination of Governor Isiaka Oyetola and Benedict Alabi by the APC.

The court premised its judgement on the ground that Governor Mai Mala Buni who submitted their names to INEC violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 82 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through its counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, had in the suit dragged Governor Buni and four others before the court challenging the nomination and sponsorship of Adegboyega Oyetola and his running mate as the duly nominated candidates of the APC.

With this judgement, the coast is now clear for Oyetola to concentrate on his petition at the Tribunal challenging the declaration of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the winner of the July 16 govenorship election in Osun State.

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