A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has affirmed the candidacy of Usman Ododo, the winner of the April 14 Kogi State All Progressives Congress’ primary election, as the lawful candidate, to represent the party in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The Court on Tuesday held that Mr Ododo can continue to fly the flag of the APC in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu declared him qualified, while delivering judgment in a suit seeking Ododo’s disqualification over an alleged breach of the electoral laws during the election, affirmed that the evidences tendered against him, can not be substatiated.
Premium Politics had earlier reported that Ododo emerged winner of the APC primary election of April 14, in selection of the party’s candidate for the coming November 11, governorship election in the state.
However, an APC governorship aspirant, Mr Abubakar Achimugu, who was dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, asking that Ododo be disqualified from contesting the November 11 governorship election, on grounds that he did not resign his employment with the Kogi State public service, 30 days before contesting the governorship primary.
Delivering judgment in the suit on Tuesday, the court held that contrary to the claim of Achimugu, evidence showed that Ododo resigned his appointment more than 30 days before taking part in the last APC primary election in the state.
Justice Egwuatu explained that the exhibits tendered by the defendants showed that while Ododo’s resignation letter was received by the Office of the Kogi State Governor on March 8, that of the 3rd defendant, Mr Salami Deedat, was received on March 9.
However, the court affirmed that an employee or appointee’s resignation letter comes into effect the moment the notice is received, held that the employee would not be held responsible if the employer failed to act on it, either by continuing with the payment of salary or whatever negligence on the part of the employer.
“Satisfied that they resigned their appointment on March 8 and 9, more than 30 days before the April 14 primary…the suit is bereft of any merit and accordingly dismissed,” the judge said.
Meanwhile, the court had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendants, claiming that the suit was statute barred, having been filed more than 14 days as required by law.
The judge agreed with the plaintiff that the cause of action actually occurred on April 14, when Ododo and Deedat contested the primary and not when they purchased the expression of interest and nomination form.
“It is one thing to purchase form and it is another thing to participate in an election,” Egwuatu held.