By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
Justice Iyang Ekwo of a federal high court Abuja, yesterday, dismissed a suit challenging the primary election that produced Rotimi Akeredolu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress(APC) in Ondo State.
The plaintiff, Mrs. Olajumoke Anifowose had challenged the indirect primary election that produced Akeredolu as the nominated governorship candidate of APC in the last governorship election in the state.
The court held that the contending suit was statued barred having been Dulles outside 14days window allowed by the law for a pre election matter.
In the suit filled on her behalf by her counsel Mr Adesina Oke, she posited that section 87 of the Electoral Act and Article 20 of the APC constitution and other relevant election guidelines were violated in the primary election.
She maintained that the state executive committee and local government committees of APC that conducted the primary election didn’t follow the guidelines.
She, therefore, prayed the court to declare the primary election as invalid and to bar Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from recognising Akeredolu as a governorship candidate.
She also asked the court to prohibit APC from submitting Akeredolu’s name as the governorship candidate and Akeredolu from parading himself as a gubernatorial candidate.
However, the court in it’s judgment
upheld the preliminary objection against the suit by Akeredolu and APC who claimed that the court action is grossly incompetent since it was not filed withing 14 days required by law and by that, that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Justice Ekwo noted that Akeredolu was nominated by APC on July 20th, and the plaintiff instituted the suit on July 29, which fell within 14 days stipulated by law.
The court as well held that the suit also became incompetent due to the withdrawal of the initial originating summon and its substitution on August 20 by the plaintiff.
The court held that the substitution of the second originating summon was done outside 14 days required by law, and therefore became an invalid suit by the provision of section 285 of the 1999 Constitution.
“Let me make it clear that a careful perusal of facts in this matter showed that the first defendant, Akeredolu was nominated on July, 20th, 2020, and the plaintiff came to court on July 29, 2020.
“A new dimension however emerged when the plaintiff on August 20, 2020, substituted the originating summon of the July 29, with another one due to the error discovered in the first one that sued the office of the governor that did not participle in the disputed primary.
“This substitution having not been done withing 14 days allowed by section 285 of the 1999 constitution makes this suit statued barred and constitutionally dead,’’ the court held.
Consequently, the court dismissed the suit on the ground that it was grossly incompetent to stand in the face of the law.