S’Court Dismisses PDP’s Alleged Unlawful Nomination Appeal against Oyetola, Deputy

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the participation of former Governor of Osun State, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, and his deputy, Mr Bendict Alabi, in the July 16, 2022 governorship election in the state.

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja had, in a judgment 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.

However, the Court of Appeal in its own decision set aside the judgment of Justice Nwite’s judgment last December, prompting PDP’s appeal to the apex court.

Delivering judgment in the suit on Thursday, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Centus Nweze, held that the appeal by the PDP was without merit and directed the lawyer to the PDP, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, (SAN), to withdraw it.

According to the apex court, the PDP lacks the legal power to question the process leading to the emergence of Oyetola and Alabi as candidates of the APC in the last governorship election in Osun State. 

The judgment was on the appeal marked: SC/CV/1645/2022, filed by the PDP and APC, Oyetola and Alabi as appellants. 

The Court of Appeal had, in its judgment, upheld the appellants’ submissions to the fact that the trial court erred in upholding the claim by the PDP.

They had contended that the trial court’s decision was perverse and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against them. 

In addition, they claimed that by the provision of section 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022, it is only aspirants in the primary 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 empowers a political party to challenge the action of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where the commission failed to comply with the provision of the Act in respect of the 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 them was erroneous and perverse.

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