Friday, January 11, 2019 5:01 pm
The Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed a suit challenging the conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election in Osun held on July 20, 2018.
The suit filed by Mr Kunle Adegoke, was challenging the emergence of Mr Isiaka Oyetola as the candidate of the party in the election held in September 2018.
In a judgment delivered on Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.
Adegoke had in 2018, approached the court praying for an order nullifying the APC primary election conducted through the direct primary method in Osogbo.
He said his action was premised on the ground that the poll was not conducted in compliance with relevant laws.
Adegoke, who came 8th among the nine aspirants that contested the primary election, told the court that the 1999 Constitution, Electoral Act 2010 and the APC Guidelines were breached by the Ovie Omo-Agege-led Electoral Panel.
Adegoke, specifically told the court that the direct system of conducting primary election had not been officially adopted at the time it was used to conduct the primary election in Osun.
He also prayed the court to nullify the primary election on the ground that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was not given the mandatory seven-day notice to observe the election when it was shifted from July 19 to 20, 2018.
The defendants in the suit, APC, INEC, Oyetola and Benedict Olugbenga Alabi, however filed various objections to the suit.
One of such objections was that the primary election was an internal affair of the APC and that the plaintiff lacked the ‘Locus Standi’ to institute the suit.
The court, however, dismissed the objections.
The judge agreed with the defendants that the primary election was conducted in line with provisions of relevant laws.
He said that although, the plaintiff complained that a seven-day notice was not issued to INEC to observe the poll in writing, the presence of INEC officials at the election had provided a remedy to the complaint.
Justice Ekwo held that Adegoke, who appeared before the Omo-Agege-led electoral panel for screening did not complain or raise any objection against the use of the direct system.
He added that as such, Adegoke had waived his right to challenge the same system.
“It is my opinion upon considering the evidence in this case that the APC acted within the powers and authority vested in it in the conduct of the governorship primaries in Osun in the circumstances of the evidence in this case.
“Far be it that primary elections of a political party would be annulled simply for the fun of doing so or in sympathy with an aspirant whose aim is just to have the primaries annulled.
“The evidence to warrant the exercise of the power of nullification by the court must be compelling and overwhelming and that being the case.
“I am unable to see any of the provisions of the constitution and guideline of the APC which the plaintiff says has been contravened which has the potency of nullifying the primary election of July 20, 2018.
“On the whole, I find no illegal or unconstitutional act on the part of the APC in the conduct of the governorship primaries in Osun that would warrant this court to intervene.
“This case lacks merit and I hereby make an order dismissing it,” the judge said.