The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to restore the nullification of the participation of Osun State’s ex-Governor, Gboyega Oyetola and his Deputy Bendict Alabi in the July 16, 2022 governorship election.
Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja had, in a judgment he delivered on September 30, 2022 nullified the participation of Oyetola and Alabi in the governorship election on the grounds that their nomination forms were endorsed by an acting Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who was also a serving governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.
Justice Nwite’s judgment was set aside by the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division in a judgment in December 2022, a decision the PDP appealed to the Supreme Court.
In a judgment on Thursday, a five-member panel of Justices of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Centus Nweze, held that the appeal by the PDP was lacking in merit and directed the lawyer to the PDP, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) to withdraw it.
The court held that the PDP could not, under the law, question the process leading to the emergence of Oyetola and Alabi as candidates of the APC in the election.
The judgment of the apex court was on the appeal marked: SC/CV/1645/2022.
The Court of Appeal had, in its judgment upheld the arguments of the appellants – the APC, Oyetola and Alabi, that the trial court erred in upholding the claim by the PDP.
The APC, Oyetola and Alabi in their notices of appeal, argued that the trial court’s decision was perverse and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against them.
They contended that by the provision of section 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022, it is only aspirants in the primary election that produced Oyetola and Alabi that could complain that either the Act or electoral guidelines of the political party, was not complied with.
They added that the provision of Section 284 (14) (1) of the Constitution, only empowered a political party to challenge the action of INEC, where the commission failed to comply with the provision of the Act in respect of nomination of its candidates.
The appellants argued that the PDP lacked the powers to challenge the nomination process of the APC, a position that deprived the trial court the jurisdiction to hear the case.
They further argued that the trial court’s reliance on Section 82 (3) 84 (13) and 29 of the Electoral Act, 2022, to disqualify was erroneous and perverse.
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