A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed December 14 to deliver judgment in a suit seeking to disqualify Governor Rotimi Akeredolu from participating in the Ondo State governorship election held on October 10.
The suit was filed by a governorship aspirant, Dr. Nathaniel Adojutelegan, who is challenging the outcome of the July 20, 2020 primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that threw up Akeredolu as the party’s candidate.
Justice Okon Abang fixed the date for judgment after concluding the hearing, with the Independent National Electoral Commission, the third defendant in the suit, adopting its counter-affidavit in opposition to the suit on Friday.
The APC and Akeredolu, who are the first and second defendants, had through their counsels on Tuesday, when the hearing started, adopted their counter-affidavits and notices of preliminary objection in urging the court to dismiss the suit.
Justice Abang, on Tuesday, cut the hearing short and adjourn till Friday after it was realised that INEC’s counter-affidavit was not served on the other parties to the suit.
While adopting INEC’s counter-affidavit on Friday, the commission’s lawyer, Abdulaziz Sani, said: “Considering the nature of the dispute, we will rather be bound by the outcome of the suit”.
Responding to the counter-affidavit, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr Isaac Aderogba, argued that in his reply on points of law that INEC’s description of the mode of ballot used by the APC’s electoral committee for the July 20, 2020 primary election as “open secret ballot system” was an admission by the commission which monitored the poll that “secret ballot system” was jettisoned in violation of the party’s constitution and electoral guidelines.
However, the counsel for the APC, represented by Mr Omosanya Popoola, and Akeredolu represented by Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), contended that the “open secret ballot” was a mere hybrid of “secret ballot” and not an admission that the APC’s electoral committee jettisoned the “secret ballot” as claimed by the plaintiff’s lawyer. They prayed the court to dismiss the case.
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