A Federal Capital Territory High Court on Monday dismissed a suit by a member of the House of Representatives, Oladipupo Adebutu against the emergence of Senator Buruji Kashamu as governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State for the March 2, 2019 governorship election.
In a judgment, Justice Ajoke Adepoju held Adebutu, who was nominated by the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP for the governorship election, cannot maintain his suit against the defendants because the primary election that produced him (Adebutu) was conducted in violation of a subsisting court judgment.
Adebutu had, by the suit marked: FCT/FT/CV/29/2018, challenged refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept his candidacy.
Justice Adepoju was of the view the PDP NWC acted in bad faith by disregarding a subsisting judgment of a Federal High Court to produce the candidate.
Justice Adepoju said since PDP was a party in the judgment given by Justice Ibrahim Buba (of the Federal High Court), the judgment of the court was binding on it and must be obeyed and respected to protect the sanctity of court in the interest of the rule of law.
The judge noted it was the party’s (PDP’s) NWC that has the power to conduct governorship primary election but said the NWC, in exercising such power, must not act in violation of any court judgment.
Justice Adepoju said PDP NWC cannot not hold valid primary election without recourse to the Ogun State chapter of the party or outright approval of the party until the judgment against it by Justice Buba has been set aside by a higher court.
The judge held that Adebutu’s suit cannot be maintained to declare him a governorship candidate because the PDP NWC, which conducted the primary election that produced him, acted in violation of a judgment of a Federal High Court delivered by Justice Buba.
Adepoju said she arrived at the conclusion because of the need ensure the protection of the sanctity of the court and its judgments by parties or individuals.
She noted the PDP did not do well by disobeying the judgment of Justice Buba with the way it conducted its primary election in Ogun State last year.
The judge said although Adebutu was able to establish the primary election that produced him was conducted by the appropriate organ of PDP, he was not entitled to be declared the candidate because of the circumstances that surrounded the conduct of the primary election in breach of a judgment that has not been set aside.
The judge earlier dismissed the objection raised by Kashamu against the suit.
The judge held that Adebutu has the option, in law, either to file the suit in Abeokuta, Ogun State or in Abuja as he did.
Justice Buba had, in his judgment in 2016 ordered INEC and the PDP to recognize and accept, for purposes of the 2019 Nigeria General Elections, only candidates of the PDP in Ogun State that have been nominated through primaries endorsed or conducted by the Adebayo Dayo-led new officers of the PDP in Ogun State.