A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Friday, annulled the primary of the African Democratic Congress for the governorship candidate in the state, Biyi Otegbeye, and 26 House of Assembly candidates of the party.
The presiding Judge, Justice Adetayo Aluko, who annulled the primary also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to remove all the names of the 26 candidates from its website.
The court said the ADC failed to adhere to the electoral law, The PUNCH reports.
The Labour Party in the state had dragged the ADC candidates to court over alleged non-compliance to the Electoral Act in the conduct of the party’s primary.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Aluko held that the primary election which produced Otegbeye and the state Assembly candidates was not monitored by INEC.
The court affirmed 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.
The court, however, said the first defendant and INEC had right of an appeal.
He said the order also goes for other Assembly candidates of the ADC in the state.
Reacting, the counsel for the second and third defendants (the ADC and all the candidates),Tunde Falola, hinted 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 against has 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 a welcome development.
Mawah said, “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.”