Court Sacks Ogun ADC Governorship, State Assembly Candidates

By Damilare Adeleye
Biyi Otegbeye
Biyi Otegbeye

The primary election of the African Democratic Congress for Ogun State governorship candidate, Biyi Otegbeye, alongside 26 Assembly candidates of the party has been nullified by a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital.

Justice Adetayo Aluko, who delivered the ruling on Friday, also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to remove all the names of the 26 candidates from its website forthwith.

The court held that the ADC failed to follow the existing electoral law.

The Nigerian Voice understands that the Ogun State chapter of Labour Party had sued the ADC candidates over alleged non-compliance to the Electoral Act in the conduct of the party’s primary.

Consequently, Justice Aluko held that the primary election which produced Otegbeye and the state Assembly candidates was not monitored by INEC.

Affirming that the primary elections were held in violation of the Electoral Act, the court ruled that Otegbeye and the Assembly candidates were not the valid candidates of the ADC for the 2023 governorship and state Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, following the judgement, the counsel for the second and third defendants (the ADC and all the candidates),Tunde Falola, disclosed that the party would study details of the judgement and proceed on an appeal.

Falola said, “The court has given judgement in its own wisdom and it is in favour of the plaintiff. As you know, this is a contest, one way or the other, it has to go the way it goes, but that is not the end of the case, we have applied and we have indicated to the court that we are very interested in having access to the judgement as quick as possible with the view to sit down and analyse the judgement with the view of taking further steps in respect of the judgement.

“Constitutionally, every Nigerian, every party before the court whose judgement has been given the right, constitutional right to approach the higher court and ventilate his or her grievances. There are some areas which we feel we disagree with judgement of his lordship that we intend to explore before the Court of Appeal.

“There are some areas which we feel that the positions of the lordship do not accord with the position of law, that is what we intend to explore.”

The LP legal Counsel, Monday Mawah, described the judgment as victory for rule of law and democracy.

In his words, “Simply put, what transpired in court today is victory for the rule of law and democracy. We brought an action to the court challenging the decision of INEC to countenance the list of candidates that purportedly emerged in primary that never took place by the ADC.

“When the final list of the candidates were published, we were surprised to see the names of candidates of the ADC and then we went to court to say if the Electoral Act says INEC must monitor primaries and then a primary was purportedly done without inviting INEC, that primary in the eye of the law is invalid and the court answered that question in the negative that the primary in which INEC was never invited could never be valid in the eye of the law and that any candidate that purportedly emerged from such primary must be removed and that was what the court did today.

“The court agreed with us and said in the eye of the law, there was no primary, since there was no primary, any name purportedly put on that list for the ADC should be removed.”