Two contenders for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the April 14, 2023, primary poll in Kogi State, Senator Smart Adeyemi and Abubakar Achimugu, have proceeded to the Supreme Court to seek the disqualification of Usman Ododo as the candidate of the party for the forthcoming November 11 polls.
Naija News gathered that in their separate appeals to the apex court, Adeyemi is challenging the primary election that produced Ododo, as winner, while Achimugu, is challenging the eligibility of Ododo as a candidate.
Recall that the duo had earlier filed separate suits at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Adeyemi had argued that the primary election, which produced Ododo, ran foul of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution and also contrary to Sections 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, as well as Article 20 of the APC constitution.
On the other hand, Achimugu was in court questioning the eligibility of the APC candidate on the ground that he did not resign as an Auditor General for Local Government before contesting the primary.
However, the Federal High Court in Abuja, in separate judgments delivered by Justice James Omotosho on July 12, held that Adeyemi and Achimugu did not prove their allegations that the APC did not lawfully nominate Ododo. Justice Omotosho quashed the petitions by Adeyemi and Achimugu, for lack of evidence, respectively.
Unsatisfied, the duo took their cases to the Appeal Court, but in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Muhammed Shuaibu on August 18, the Appeal Court upheld the verdicts of the lower court in a unanimous decision.
And now they have both proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge Ododo’s emergence.
Adeyemi is challenging the primary elections that produced Ododo maintained that the election was only held in 11 wards, all in one local government, (Kogi/Kotonkarfe) of the 239 wards across the state.
He contended, “What happened to the 228 remaining wards? At what level were the results announced, and was the entire process, starting from the cast of votes, announcement and collation of results, done in accordance with the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), which stipulated that results should be announced at each polling units at every ward and collated at the local government headquarters?”
He is also asking the Supreme Court justices to determine, among others, whether, in accordance with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act (as amended), the results of a supposed statewide primary election declared solely based on the election held in 11 wards of a local government (Kogi/Kotonkarfe) of 239 wards, is sufficient to nominate a governorship candidate by a party, exclusive of 228 electoral wards.
Adeyemi is also praying the Supreme Court to cancel the April 14 direct primary election of the APC in Kogi State and order a fresh election to be conducted either by direct, indirect or consensus mode, based on superior argument, for the nomination of a candidate lawfully elected by the majority of the members of the APC in Kogi State.
On the other hand, Achimugu, in his own appeal, is contesting the qualification of Ododo as a candidate in the first place, arguing that he did not resign from the civil service at the time of purchasing and submission of his expression of interest and nomination forms.
He asserted that claims that Ododo submitted his resignation letter to Governor Yahaya Bello were untenable and an afterthought, as the appropriate channel to do so is the Civil Service Commission, which copies ought to have been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the party.