A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja has nullified the nomination of Governor Adeboyega Oyetola as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the July 16 governorship election in the State of Osun.
The court, in a judgement delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite today, disqualified Oyetola and the deputy governorship candidate, Benedict Alabi, on the ground that Governor Mai Mala Buni who submitted their names to INEC violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Buni was the Chairman of National Caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC while Oyetola was a member.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, had on April 7, 2022 commenced a suit at the Federal High Court to challenge the nomination and sponsorship of Governor Oyetola and his deputy as the duly nominated candidates of the APC.
Oyetola’s counsel, Kunle Adegoke, SAN, contended, amongst other grounds, that the Ogunwumiju did not competent to commence the action and that the suit was statute-barred.
In its judgment, Justice Emeka Nwite, today, Friday, agreed with the submissions of the plaintiff’s counsel and declared as null and void, the nomination of Governor Oyetola and Alabi by the APC.
The court also held that Governor Mai Mala Buni acted in contravention of the provision of Section 183 of the Constitution when he held dual executive positions as the Governor of Yobe State and the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of APC.
The court held that the steps or decisions taken by Governor Mai Mala Buni, including forwarding the names of Governor Oyetola and Alabi to INEC amounted to a nullity in law.
However, Mr Ibrahim Lawal, a legal practitioner who is a staunch supporter of Governor Oyetola, has opined that the Federal High Court judgement would not stand.
According to Lawal on his Facebook page, the judgment contradicts the decision of Supreme Court on similar matter.
He wrote: “Re: Federal High Court decision nullifying the nomination of Governor Oyetola as APC candidate: No cause for alarm.
“The Supreme Court in Eyitayo Jegede v INEC (2021) 4NWLR (Pt. 1797) has cleared this matter. Any decision that is different from this is bound to fail at the appeal.”