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Oyetola, deputy not candidates in gov election­ –Court

Gboyega Oyetola

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday evening, nullified the nomination of Governor Isiaka Oyetola and his deputy governorship candidate, Benedict Alabi, as candidates of the All Progressives Congress in the last governorship election in Osun State.

The court premised its judgment on the grounds that the former APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, who submitted their names to the Independent National Electoral Commission, 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 through its counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/468/2022, dragged Buni and four others before the court, challenging the nomination and sponsorship of Governor Oyetola and his deputy as the duly nominated candidates of the APC.

In challenging the competence of the suit, counsel for Oyetola, Kunle Adegoke (SAN), who contended, among other grounds that the plaintiff did not have the locus to commence the action and that the suit was statute-barred.

In arguing to the contrary,  Ogunwumiju (SAN), leading O.M. Atoyebi (SAN) and Ademola Abimbola, submitted that the plaintiff rightly commenced the suit under Section 285(14) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

In its judgment, Justice Emeka Nwite agreed with the submissions of the plaintiff’s counsel and declared as null and void the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi by the APC.

Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Ismail Omipidan, has appealed to Oyetola’s supporters to remain calm in the face of the decision of a Federal High Court that nullified his candidature in the July 16 governorship poll.

He said, “For the records, the position of the law is that only members of the APC who participated in the primary election can approach the court to challenge the nomination of Oyetola as the candidate of the party.”

“All these are part of the antics of the opposition PDP and some of their collaborators from within to distract us. But like every one of their plans, this too has fallen flat on their faces.”

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