Monday, 23 January, 2023, will remain indelible and a watershed in the race towards who occupies the Oke Mosan seat in the 2023 gubernatorial polls.
That day, the Court of Appeal, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, upheld the petition of the candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Barrister Biyi Otegbeye.
The appellate court equally upheld the petitions of all the 23 House of Assembly candidates of the party in the forthcoming general elections.
The APC had spurred some elements in the Labour Party to drag the ADC to court, alleging that Otegbeye as well as 23 Assembly candidates of the ADC were not validly nominated in line with the 2022 electoral Act.
Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta had on 26 November, 2022, ruled in favor of the APC directing the INEC to delist Otegbeye and all the 23 OGHA candidates from the list of those to contest the March election.
Dissatisfied, Otegbeye and the ADC candidates headed to the court of appeal. They insisted that the judgment was wrong and demanded that it be upturned.
The appellate judge, Justice M.A.A. Adumen JCA in his judgment set aside the Judgement of the Federal High Court Abeokuta division which initially ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to remove the names of the ADC Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Candidates OLUBIYI OTEGBEYE & OTHERS from the List of Canidates for the 2023 general election in Ogun State
The Court, in a unanimous Judgement, delivered by Hon Justice M. A. A ADUMEIN JCA held that the lower court has no Jurisdiction to adjudicate on the suit filed by APC before the trial court challenging the primaries conducted by the African Democratic Congress ( ADC)in the first place.
The Court subsequently set aside the decision and all the orders made by the trial court for want of Jurisdiction
Counsel to the Appellants, Tunde Falola, thanked the Court for the well researched and painstakingly delivered Judgment
It could be recalled that the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC), had instituted 23 cases against Otegbeye and the ADC at the Federal High Court in Abeokuta.
The presiding judge, Akintayo Aluko on November 26, had ruled in favour of the APC, and asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delist the names big ADC candidates from the register of candidates contesting 2023 elections.
But on monday, the appellate judge drclared that ‘The lower court has no jurisdiction over the case. The judgement of the lower court is hereby dismissed”.
Justice Adumen cited Supreme Court judgement which says: no member of a political party has the locus standi to question the decision of a political party in the nomination of a candidate for elective office. It is only an aspirant who participated in a primary that has the locus stand to challenge the outcome of the primaries
The court awarded the cost of N50,000 is awarded in favour of the appellant.
The judge said that the appeal succeeds be cause the issue of who becomes the candidate of a political party remains the prerogative of the political parties.