Ogun PDP: S’Court Orders Fresh Hearing in Suit Challenging Adebutu’s Emergence

Alex Enumah in Abuja

With barely three months to the 2023 general election, the Supreme Court, has ordered a suit challenging the emergence of Oladipupo Adebutu as governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State.

The apex court, in a unanimous judgment, yesterday, upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which had voided a judgment of the Federal High Court in favour of Adebutu.

The five-man panel, in a judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, agreed with the appellate court that the trial court was wrong to have declined jurisdiction in the suit filed by a factional candidate, Mr Jimi Lawal.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo now retired had in a judgment delivered on July 29, declined to entertain the suit by Lawal on the grounds that the choice of delegates to vote at the governorship primary was exclusively within the domain of a political party, hence, his court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Dissatisfied by the decision of the trial court, Lawal, had approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the decision of Justice Taiwo, which declined to hear his case.

He told the appellate court that Justice Taiwo erred in law, when he upheld the respondent’s notice of preliminary objection in part and declined jurisdiction to entertain his case.

Lawal, accordingly, urged the three member panel to reverse the decision of the trial judge.

In their judgment, the appellate court held that the issue in the case was pre-election related, over which the Federal High Court has jurisdiction and subsequent voided the ruling of the trial court, which declined to hear the case.

Having set aside the judgment, Justice Biobele Georgewill, who read the judgment proceeded to make an order remitting the case to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the hearing of the case on the merit.

The judge held that since the trial court failed to decide the suit on its merit and the period of 180 days, for determination of pre-election cases, was still running, suit should be remitted to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for prompt assignment to another judge for trial.

Dissatisfied, the PDP and Adebutu proceeded to the apex court praying it to void the decision of the lower court.

However, the appellate court in its judgment held that the case must be heard on its merit by another judge of the Federal High Court.

The Supreme Court also ordered that the trial court should accord it the necessary speed needed for it to be heard within the remaining days of the 180 days allowed by law for pre-election matters.

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