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Osun election: Appeal Court validates Oyetola, running mate as APC candidates

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the candidature and nomination of the governorship candidate of APC in the July 16 governorship election in Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his running mate, Benedict Alabi.

Osun state former Governor, Gboyega Oyetola. [Twitter/@GboyegaOyetola]

The court set aside the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite, nullifying the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi as the APC governorship and deputy governorship candidates.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on Sept. 30 nullified the nomination of Oyetola and his running mate, Alabi.

The nullification was on the grounds that Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, who submitted their names to INEC, violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution and Section 82 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.

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In his judgment, Justice Emeka Nwite agreed with the submissions of the Plaintiff’s counsel and declared as null and void the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi by the APC.

The PDP through its counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, had in the suit dragged Buni and four others before the court challenging the nomination and sponsorship of Oyetola and his running mate as the duly nominated candidates of the APC.

But the Appeal Court in Abuja, on Friday, in appeal no: CA/ABJ/CV/1099/2022 between Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola & Anor v PDP & Ors, authenticated the nomination of the duo.

In allowing the appeal filed by Oyetola and his party, APC, the Court of Appeal held that the outcome of a governorship primary is a collective decision of a party through its congress.

It said constitutional challenge or deformity of any officer of the party cannot render it illegal.

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The court, therefore, held that notwithstanding the defects in the letter forwarding the nomination and sponsorship of Oyetola and his running mate to INEC, the fact that they emerged from a valid primary cannot be ruled out.

It maintained that the defect of Buni signing the letter conveying the nomination of the appellants cannot be a ground to reject the results and desire of the party’s primary election.

Regarding the question of immunity of Buni, who submitted the nomination of the appellants to INEC, the court equally held that Buni cannot be sued because the immunity enjoyed by him protected him against civil and criminal suits.

The court questioned Nwite for his failure not to consider a classical precedent judgment delivered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Jegede v INEC before he arrived at his judgment.

It also awarded the cost of N200,000 in favour of the appellants.

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