A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday validated the primary election that produced Hon. Ladi Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ogun State.
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, set aside a suit filed by an aggrieved governorship hopeful, Jimi Adebisi Lawal, seeking to nullify the nomination of Adebutu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Lawal had in the suit, challenged the delegates list that was used in the conduct of the May 25, 2022 governorship primary poll in the state at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library(OOPL), Abeokuta.
The plaintiff contended that the list, which he alleged contained names of political appointees, was at variance with the names of delegates that were democratically elected at the ward congresses.
Following from this, he prayed the court discountenance the outcome of the said primary election and order the PDP to conduct a fresh one.
Delivering his judgement this morning, Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiff failed to establish his allegation that the primary election was not conducted in compliance with the 1999 Constitution, as amended, section 84(1), (2), (5b) and (8) of the Electoral Act 2022, as well as Article 25 (1a) and (2c) of the PDP Constitution.
The court held that evidence before it proved that Adebutu duly won the indirect primary election that was organised by the party and monitored by INEC, having polled a total of 714 votes.
It also held that contrary to the plaintiff’s claim, the PDP, through its Ogun State Chairman, had before the primary election, tendered to the INEC, a 3-man ad-hoc delegates list that emerged from each Ward in the state.
It accused the plaintiff of attempting to use a further affidavit to remedy a deficiency in the Originating Summons he lodged against the party.
More so, the court held that evidence before it showed that the plaintiff decamped from the All Progressives Congress, APC, and joined the PDP in March 2022, and was subsequently allowed to contest the primary election.
“I find that the plaintiff is merely playing the role of a spoiler in the affairs of the 1st defendant (PDP)”, Justice Ekwo held.
“It is not the business of the court to overrule the choice of a political party after such a candidate emerged from a democratically conducted congress.
“The plaintiff failed to discharge the burden of proof through reliable evidence.
“I, therefore, have no reason to say that the primary election was invalid.
“I can only see the case of the plaintiff from one prism and that is that it is a product of an afterthought and it ought to be treated as such.
“This suit is accordingly dismissed as lacking in merit”, Justice Ekwo added.
Though Adebutu’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, demanded a cost of N5million, the court, refused the prayer.