The Supreme Court has fixed October 3, 2023, for judgment in a suit filed against the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election in Kogi State.
Last week, Naija News gathered that two contenders for the governorship ticket of the APC in 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.
It was learned that in their separate appeals to the apex court, Adeyemi is challenging the primary election that produced Ododo as the winner, while Achimugu is challenging the eligibility of Ododo as a candidate.
Recall that the duo had filed separate suits at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
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, who maintained that the election was only held in 11 wards, all in one local government (Kogi/Kotonkarfe) of the 239 wards across the state.
During Thursday’s hearing, Adeyemi’s lawyer, Musibawu Adetunmbi, SAN, after adopting his briefs, prayed to the apex court to grant the reliefs sought by his clients.
Adetunmbi argued that the primary election of April 14 was conducted in gross violation of section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He claimed that the election was not held in 228 wards and that INEC’s field officers supported the claim in their report on the primary election.
In his argument, the lawyer for the APC, AbdulWahab Mohammed, prayed the panel of the apex court, headed by Justice John Okoro, to dismiss Adeyemi’s appeal on the ground that it is against the concurrent findings of fact by the court of appeal and the supreme court.
On the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), represented by Adeyemi Adeniyi SAN, the suit should be dismissed, and the verdict of the two lower courts should be upheld.
Lawyer to the third respondent, Usman Ahmed Ododo, Francis Ekpa, asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal on the ground that it has become academic, adding that the 180 days within which APC can conduct another primary election for nomination of a candidate has expired
After listening to their argument, Justice Okoro fixed judgment on the matter for October 3.