Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja has thrown out a suit that challenged the primary election that produced Rotimi Akeredolu as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress in the Ondo state governorship election held on October 10, 2020.
While dismissing the suit in a judgment on Wednesday, Justice Ekwo held that the case instituted by Olajumoke Anifowose was statute-barred, saying it was filed outside 14 days allowed by law for a pre-election matter.
The plaintiff had in the suit filed by her lawyer, Adesina Oke, challenged the indirect primary election which produced Akeredolu as the nominated governorship candidate of the party.
Citing relevant elections guidelines, she insisted that Section 87 of the Electoral Act and Article 20 of the APC constitution and other relevant election guidelines were violated in the primary election conducted by the State Executive Committee and Local Government Committee of APC.
Anifowose, therefore, applied for an order of the court declaring the primary election as invalid.
She also prayed the court to prohibit APC from submitting Akeredolu’s name as its governorship candidate and stop parading himself as governorship candidate.
Justice Ekwo therefore upheld the preliminary objection that Akeredolu and APC failed to query the legal competence.
It was claimed in that the Court action was grossly incompetent as it was not filed within 14 days required by law and by that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Although Justice Ekwo stressed that Akeredolu was nominated by APC on July 20, and the plaintiff instituted the suit on July 29, which fell within 14 days stipulated by law, the suit however became incompetent due to the withdrawal of the initial originating summons and its substitution on August 20 by the plaintiff.
The Court held that the substitution of the second originating summon was done outside 14 days required by law, and therefore became an invalid suit by the provision of section 285 of the 1999 constitution.
“Let me make it clear that a careful perusal of facts in this matter showed that the first defendant, Akeredolu was nominated on July, 20, 2020, and the plaintiff came to court on July 29, 2020.
“A new dimension however emerged when the plaintiff on August 20, 2020, substituted the originating summon of the July 29, with another one due to the error discovered in the first one that sued the office of the governor that did not participate in the disputed primary.
“This substitution, having not been done within 14 days allowed by Section 285 of the 1999 constitution, makes this suit statued, barred and constitutionally dead.” the Judge held.