Ondo poll: Court hears suit against Akeredolu’s candidacy

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday began hearing of a suit filed by a governorship aspirant in Ondo State, Dr Nath Adojutelegan, challenging the validity of the primary election which produced Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the All Progressives Congress’ candidate in the October 2020 governorship election in the state.

Justice Okon Abang fixed Friday for the concluding phase of the hearing.

He said a date for judgment will be fixed at the end of Friday’s hearing.

The judge had planned to conclude the hearing on Tuesday but had to adjourn due to the non-service of a counter-affidavit filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission on other parties to the suit.

He, therefore, directed INEC’s lawyer, Abdulaziz Sani, to ensure the service of the counter-affidavit on the other parties within 48 hours.

The judge also informed the lawyers representing the other parties that they could reply to the counter-affidavit should they wish.

The suit was filed on August 3, 2020, by Adojutelgan, who along with others, lost the APC primary election to Akeredolu.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of the primary election, the plaintiff on August 3, 2020, filed the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/886/2020, alleging that the exercise was marred by a grave and substantial noncompliance with the spirit and purpose of the APC’s Constitution, Electoral Guidelines and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), which he argued: “substantially affected the outcome of the primary election.”

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the delegates’ list used for the primary violated section 87(7) and (8) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), Article 20 (iii) and (iv) (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the APC Constitution 2014 (as amended) and Electoral Guidelines.

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According to him, the list was unlawful and invalid on the grounds that it was filled with the names of principal officers of the wards, local governments, and state executive committees of the party in Ondo State, none of whom was democratically elected to be delegates at the primary as prescribed by the laws and regulations cited.

He urged the court to make an order nullifying the nomination of Akeredolu as the party’s candidate in the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state.

He also urged the court not to allow Akeredolu to gain from his alleged wrongdoings regarding the governorship primary election, for an order nullifying the exercise and order a fresh primary from which the governor should not be allowed to participate in.

The APC, Akeredolu, and INEC were joined as the 1st to the 3rd defendants respectively in the suit filed on August 3, 2020, about two weeks after the primary election held.

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