Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Court of Appeal in Ibadan yesterday set aside a court order which directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise the list of candidates submitted for the 2019 general elections by a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, loyal to Senator Buruji Kashamu.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Shittu Abubakar of the Federal High Court Abeokuta had, on October 2, ordered INEC to recognise the list of candidates submitted by the Bayo Dayo-led executive loyal to Kashamu.
The applicants in the appeal are the PDP, its National Chairman, Uche Secondus; and Secretary, Ibrahim Tsauri.
The respondents are Dayo-led Ogun PDP executive loyal to Kashamu on the one hand, and INEC.
The three-man appeal panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani unanimously agreed that the lower court was wrong in its decision and consequently set aside the order, saying it was null and void.
Tsammani, however, said the applicants were not properly served the originating summons at the lower court, which would notify them that there existed a case before the judge assumed jurisdiction.
The judge said service of the originating summons was fundamental and a precondition, which would affect and determine the validity of the court ’s proceedings.
“Non-service of the originating summons on the applicants at the lower court rendered all the order given at the lower court against the applicants a nullity and this is an indication that the applicants were not given a fair hearing.
“In the interest of justice, the order of the lower court is set aside, null and void and an academic exercise,’’ the judge said.
Tsammani ordered that the case be returned to the Chief Judge for reassignment to another judge other than Justice Abubakar.
Speaking to journalists after the judgment, the counsel to the Dayo-led executive, Ifeoma Esom, expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment of the court.
She said her client had directed her to proceed to the Supreme Court.
But counsel to the PDP, Emeka Etioba (SAN), said he was satisfied with the judgment and commended the judges.
NAN reports that the PDP had earlier submitted the list of candidates, which had Oladipupo Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party in Ogun to INEC before the October 2 order of the lower court recognising Kahamu’s list.