Court dismisses Smart Adeyemi’s suit against Ododo, Kogi APC governorship candidate
The court held that the prevoievidence before it showed that Adeyemi failed to appear before the committee to prove his allegations.
Delivering judgment in the suit marked FHC/CS/556/2023, Justice James Omotosho held that Adeyemi’s allegations were criminal in nature, as he alleged that elections did not hold and that the produced results were forged.
He said the plaintiff needed to prove the allegations of forgery, falsification of results beyond reasonable doubts.
The court noted that the burden of proof was on the applicant to produce the forged result or the original and the forged results to discharge the burden, adding that failure to discharge the burden was fatal to the case of the applicant.
The court held that contrary to the position of the plaintiff, there was evidence that the primary election was validly held and monitored by INEC. It held that allegations the plaintiff raised in the suit were criminal in nature and therefore ought to be proved beyond every reasonable doubt.
The judge held that Adeyemi failed to discharge the burden of proof that was placed on him by the law.
“There is enough proof before this court to slow that indeed a direct primary election of the APC held in Kogi state on April 14.”
The judge said that Adeyemi had lodged a complaint after he lost the election before an appeal committee that was constituted by the APC. The court held that the evidence before it showed that Adeyemi failed to appear before the committee to prove his allegations.
The court said it found no reason to invalidate the outcome of the primary election. Consequently, the judge dismissed the suit as lacking in merit.
Speaking to newsmen through his counsel, Mr Adekunle Ottitoju, the former lawmaker said he was heading to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment of the lower court. He said he was dissatisfied with the judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja which dismissed his case.
Justice James Omotosho had in his judgement, affirmed the primary election that produced Ododo as candidate of the party for the governorship election billed to hold in the state in November. The judge held that Adeyemi did not prove his allegation that Ododo was not lawfully nominated by the APC.
The plaintiff had in his suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/556/2023, sought the cancellation of the primary election on the grounds that it was not validly conducted. He prayed the court to declare the primary election as illegal, unlawful and invalid.
Adeyemi told the court that Ododo was handpicked as flag-bearer of the party by Gov. Yahaya Bello, in gross violation of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, Section 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act as well as Article 20 of the Constitution of the APC.
He prayed the court to give an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) not to recognise Ododo as the bonafide candidate of the party for the governorship election.
The aggrieved governorship aspirant further prayed the court to order the APC to conduct a fresh primary election and to give all aspirants an equal opportunity as provided for in the Electoral Act, 2022. Adeyemi, through his counsel, said he would take the case to the appellate court.
He insisted that the trial court failed to properly evaluate the proof of evidence that was placed before it by the parties. He insisted that there were inconsistencies in the report that was tendered by the INEC and affidavit that was deposed by the APC.
Adeyemi alleged that whereas INEC claimed that option A4 mode was adopted for the primary election it monitored, the APC, told the court that the election was through secret ballot.
The former lawmaker had in a 35 paragraph affidavit he filed in support of his originating summons, told the court that he obtained nomination and expression of interest forms from the party at the cost of ₦50 million.
He said he was subsequently screened and cleared to participate in the primary election that was slated for April 14.
Adeyemi told the court that while he waited at his constituency to cast his vote along with his people, he was shocked when information came to him that the purported primary election had been conducted and a purported winner declared.
Adeyemi prayed the court to nullify the governorship primary election and order the APC to conduct a fresh one.
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