Appeal Court Annuls Tinubu's Son-In-law's Election
The Appeal Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has nullified the election of Hon. Oyetunde Ojo, representing Ekiti Central Federal Constituency II at the House of Representatives and ordered for a fresh election.
Ojo, an Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) lawmaker and son in-law to ACN leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had approached the Appeal Court to appeal the judgement of the lower tribunal which had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election into the Ekiti Central Federal Constituency II House of Representatives seat.
But in the judgement, Justice Tom Yakubu in conjunction with Justice Obande Ogbuniya, upheld the earlier verdict of the lower tribunal, explaining that the absence of the logo and names of the National Transformation Party (NTP) candidate on the ballot contravened the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and as such dismissed Ojo's appeal.
The elections petition tribunal had in a unanimous judgement read by Justice Patrick Uhuo, nullified the election on the ground that it was not validly conducted based on 'the unlawful exclusion' of the petitioners, Mr Bamidele Peter, the NTP candidate and his party in the election. The tribunal consequently ordered INEC 'to conduct fresh election and include the name and logo of the first and second petitioner within 90 days.'
Peter of the NTP had dragged Ojo of ACN and the INEC to the tribunal, praying the tribunal to nullify the election and order a fresh one on the grounds that his name and party logo were unlawfully excluded in the ballot papers for the election.
While, the the Appeal Court ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within 30 days of the judgment, the Presiding Judge of the Appeal Court, Justice Sotonye Denton-West, however delivered a minority judgement that upturned the verdict of the Lower Tribunal, saying Ojo was validly elected.
Reacting to the judgment, counsel to NTP and its candidate, Barrister Obafemi Adewale, said the judgment confirmed that INEC had no power under any circumstance to unilaterally disqualify a candidate in any election or exclude the name and logo without a valid order of the court.
State NTP Chairman Evangelist Rufus Kehinde, hailed the judgement and said it was a confirmation that Nigerian judiciary was for the common man.
Meanwhile, ACN Media and Publicity Director, Mr Tai Oguntayo, who said the loss of the party candidate at the courts was not the fault of the party but that of INEC, however, assured that the party would win in the rerun election because it was the most populous party in the state.