The Court of Appeal in Akure has dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 2020 governorship election in Ondo state, Mr Eyitayo Jegede against the election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Reading the lead judgment, Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua, who led the five-man panel while delivering the judgement via Zoom said the case filed by Jegede lacks merit.
The five-man panel upheld the judgement of the tribunal which validated the reelection of Governor Akeredolu
Though, Justice Abadua of the appellate court came to a conclusion that the appeal lacks merit but noted that some of the grounds were meritorious.
The judges held that the non Joinder of Governor Mala Buni as APC National Caretaker chairman is fatal to the case of the petitioners.
All the other four Judges which include, H. A Barka, Andenyangtso Ali, and J.G Abudanga concurred with the judgement.
Jegede had approached the appellate court after the judgement of the Tribunal on April 20, 2021, which dismissed Jegede’s petition challenging the nomination and election of Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa for lacking in merit.
The Appeal Panel had two weeks ago reserved judgement in the appeal brought before it by the Jegede of the PDP
While reacting to the judgement, Akeredolu said the judgement is yet another opportunity for Jegede, to join him in the greater task of taking the state to loftier and higher heights.
In a statement personally signed by Akeredolu, he said “the Appeal Court has just a while ago, delivered a landmark judgement affirming my election as the duly-elected governor of Ondo State alongside my deputy, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa.
“Understandably, many had waited in animated breaths for the outcome of this case which commenced from the lower Tribunal to this extent. This is a permissible venture in the clearly an inoffensive exercise of the rights of litigants. No grudges against any in this regard.
“All have seen the scholarly industry infused into this judicial exercise by the most venerable Honourable Appeal Court of eminent Jurists. The issues examined and conclusions reached have further enriched our Nation’s Jurisprudence, no doubt.
“The outcome notwithstanding, the verdict of the Honourable Appeal Court is yet another great opportunity for my brother, colleague and friend, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN to join me in the greater task of taking Ondo State to loftier and higher heights.
“The responsibility of leadership such as that reposed in me is tasking and can only be of immense benefit to all if we set aside politics for the common goal.
“This collective, bi-partisan effort and approach are more desirable now than anyone can imagine. We have all won together, and together must we develop our dear state”
However, the candidate of the PDP in the election, Jegede and the party vowed to challenge the decision of the Appeal Court at the Supreme Court
In a statement by PDP Publicity Secretary, Kennedy Peretei, who said Justice Theresa Orji-Abadua, in concluding her lead judgement, said the Appeal was partially dismissed and partially allowed.
He said, “To the ordinary man in the street, the judgement was “inconclusive” and we must approach the Supreme Court to help them conclude the judgement.
“The kernel of the Eyitayo Jegede/PDP petition was whether or not a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) should be allowed to stay.
“Whether or not Mai Mala Buni, as a sitting Governor of Yobe State can double as National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, to sign the Nomination of Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN for the Governorship election.
“While the Court of Appeal acknowledged that it was a violation of the Constitution, it still went ahead to dismiss the appeal.
He, however, said “We are still studying the details of the judgement, by virtue of the fact that it was delivered via Zoom.
“But we have sufficient grounds to appeal the decision of the Court. We are confident the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land will do justice.”
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has hailed the judgement of the Supreme Court, describing the judgement as an affirmation of the people’s decision.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Alex Kalejaye, on behalf of the Chairman of the State Caretaker Committee, Engr. Ade Adetimehin, who said congratulated Akeredolu and his Deputy, Hon. Lucky Ayedatiwa, on their victory at the Court of Appeal.
Adetimehin who described the petition by the PDP candidate as a mere “legal distraction” but commended Jegede, for giving a civilised account of himself by approaching the court, but urged him to consider the interest of the State, and suspend further action.
“The Akeredolu-led government needs to remain focused on its patriotic zeal to develop the State and the people. This calls for the support of all, including leaders of opposing parties,” he argued.
Adetimehin however, called on Jegede to join the progressive party in the state, noting that the APC-led government has turned around the state within the last few years, saying while the PDP built Shoprite in Akure, the APC has built several factories across the state, to trigger economic activities.
The ruling party applauded the Court of Appeal Panel for cementing the judgement of the Tribunal, by upholding a dispassionate, and objective stand on the matter.
Adetimehin rejoiced with all the members of the state chapter, and the good people of Ondo State, urging them to continually support the performing APC-led government in the Sunshine State.
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