Court removes Oyetola, deputy as 2022 Osun APC guber candidates

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…Gov. to appeal nullification of nomination

Uba Group

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday, nullified the nomination of the Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola and the Deputy Governor, Benedict Alabi, as gubernatorial candidate and deputy candidate, respectively, of the All Progressives Congress for the July 16 governorship election in the state.

Their nomination was quashed on the ground that Governor Mai Mala Buni who submitted their names to the Independent National Electoral Commission violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

The matter marked FHC/ABJ/CS/468/2022 had the Peoples Democratic Party as the plaintiff, while Buni, APC, Oyetola, Alabi, and INEC were defendants.

On 7th April, 2022, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, counsel to the plaintiff, had approached the court with a suit challenging the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi as the duly nominated candidates of the party.

Oyetola’s counsel, Kunle Adegoke, SAN, argued that the PDP did not have the locus to commence the action and that the suit was statute-barred.

But Ogunwumiju submitted that the plaintiff rightly commenced the suit under Section 285(14) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

Delivering judgment on the matter on Friday, Justice Emeka Nwite, agreed with the submissions of the Plaintiff’s counsel and declared as null and void, the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi as gubernatorial candidates for the July 16 election.

Nwite also held that 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 further held that the steps or decisions taken by Buni, including forwarding the names of Oyetola and Alabi to INEC, amounted to a nullity in law.

Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary to Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, has appealed to supporters of the governor to remain calm in the face of the decision of a Federal High Court nullification of his candidature in the July 16 Governorship poll.

He noted that their team of lawyers would be challenging the decision at the Appeal Court, just as he expressed confidence that the decision would be set aside.

Omipidan further noted that the case was instituted by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in spite of the fact there is a plethora of decisions flowing from the apex court that frowns upon such a decision.

He said that, for the records, the position of the law is that only members of the APC who participated in the primary election can approach the court to challenge the nomination of Oyetola as the candidate of the party.

“All these are part of the antics of the opposition PDP and some of their collaborators from within to distract us. But like every of their plans, this too has fallen flat on their faces.

“They want to distract us from the Tribunal case. But we shall remain focused until we take back our mandate. We have confidence in the Tribunal to do justice in the case before it, just as we have implicit confidence in the Appeal Court to set aside this latest decision of the Federal High Court,” Omipidan said.