A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit challenging the validity of the primary election which produced Rotimi Akeredolu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Ondo state governorship election held on October 10 2020.
The presiding Judge, Justice Iyang Ekwo, in his judgment on Wednesday held that the case instituted by Olajumoke Anifowose was statute-barred having been filled outside 14 days allowed by law for a pre-election matter.
The Plaintiff through the suit had challenged the indirect primary election which produced Governor Akeredolu as the nominated governorship candidate of APC.
According to the Plaintiff, Section 87 of the Electoral Act and Article 20 of the APC constitution and other relevant election guidelines were violated in the primary election by the State Executive Committee and Local Government Committee of APC that conducted the primary election.
She, therefore, applied for an order of the court declaring the primary election as invalid.
Equally, she prayed the Court to prohibit APC from submitting Akeredolu’s name as its governorship candidate and stop parading himself as a gubernatorial candidate.
However, Justice Ekwo upheld the preliminary objection filed against the suit by Akeredolu and APC, who claimed that the suit was grossly incompetent as it was not filed within 14 days required by law and by that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the same.
Although Justice Ekwo stressed that Akeredolu was nominated by APC on July 20, and the plaintiff instituted the suit on July 29, which fell within 14 days stipulated by law, the suit however became incompetent due to the withdrawal of the initial originating summons and its substitution on August 20 by the plaintiff.
The Court held that the substitution of the second originating summon was done outside 14 days required by law, and therefore became an invalid suit by the provision of section 285 of the 1999 constitution.
The Judge said, “Let me make it clear that a careful perusal of facts in this matter showed that the first defendant, Akeredolu was nominated on July, 20, 2020, and the plaintiff came to court on July 29, 2020.
“A new dimension however emerged when the plaintiff on August 20, 2020, substituted the originating summon of the July 29, with another one due to the error discovered in the first one that sued the office of the governor that did not participle in the disputed primary.
“This substitution having not been done within 14 days allowed by Section 285 of the 1999 constitution, makes this suit statued barred and constitutionally dead.”
Justice Ekwo subsequently dismissed the suit on the ground that it was grossly incompetent to stand in the face of the law.