Some senior lawyers have reacted to the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which nullified the nomination of Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his deputy, Benedict Alabi as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last election.
Recall that Justice Emeka Nwite nullified Oyetola’s nomination on the ground that the former caretaker chairman of the party, Mai Mala Buni, who submitted their names to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), violated the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The lawyers in their reaction to the judgement disclosed that it would not affect the candidacy of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
The senior lawyers, Kunle Adegoke, Afam Osigwe and Reuben Atabo, who happens to be counsel to the Osun State Governor reacted to the judgment in an interview with Punch.
Adegoke, while sharing his view, said Governor Oyetola will appeal the ruling against his nomination as APC Governorship candidate.
He said, “We’re going on appeal straight away; no alternative to appeal.”
According to Adegoke, the ruling can not invalidate Tinubu’s candidacy, noting that the national convention has ratified everything the Buni-led executives did.
He added, “The national convention is the highest organ of the party, so at the national convention, we ratified everything Buni did. Asiwaju’s chances are very bright. We are going to appeal; all we know is that the court is wrong.”
A former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja branch, Osigwe speaking in the same context said there are two different cases.
He said, “I will not want to comment on the judgment of Justice Nwite in respect to the ticket of the Osun State governor because he is on appeal.
“In the Supreme Court judgment delivered on Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) and Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), the Supreme Court had the opportunity to consider the defect of a party ticket/nomination paper of a candidate being signed by Governor Buni and the court referred to the decision of the Court of Appeal which talked about holding dual executive office, and the court opined that if there is even any defect in that, it does not affect the candidate who has emerged from the primaries.”
Atabo in the interview said Abdullahi Adamu-led executive submitted Tinubu’s name to INEC, unlike Oyetola’s own which was submitted by Buni.
He said, “So, in my own opinion, the two cases are different. While in Oyetola, Buni was the caretaker chairman, the court held that it was inappropriate, that he couldn’t hold two positions at the same time.”