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Court reaffirms Adebutu as Ogun PDP guber candidate, knocks out Lawal



The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Thursday, upheld the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election that produced Oladipupo Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party in the 2023 governorship election in the state.

The judgement which was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, dismissed a suit filed by an aspirant of the party, Jimi Adebisi Lawal, seeking to nullify the nomination of Adebutu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

In the contending suit, Lawal had challenged the delegates list that was used in the conduct of the gubernatorial primary election the party held in the state on May 25.

He had contended that the list contained names of political appointees was not in tandem with the names of delegates that were democratically elected at the ward congresses.

He consequently prayed the court to invalidate the outcome of the primary election and order the PDP to conduct a fresh election.

But in his judgement, Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiff had failed to establish his allegation that the primary election was not conducted in compliance with the 1999 Constitution, as amended, section 84(1), (2), (5b) and (8) of the Electoral Act 2022, as well as Article 25 (1a) and (2c) of the PDP Constitution.

Read also:Appeal Court restores Adebutu as PDP governorship candidate in Ogun

The court held that evidence before it proved that Adebutu had duly won the indirect primary election that was organised by the party and monitored by INEC, having polled a total of 714 votes.

It also held that contrary to the plaintiff’s claim, the PDP, through its Ogun State Chairman, had before the primary election, tendered to the INEC, a 3-man ad-hoc delegates list that emerged from each Ward in the state.

The judge further held that Lawal had only decamped from the All Progressives Congress (APC), and joined the PDP in March 2022, and was subsequently allowed to contest the primary election.

“I find that the plaintiff is merely playing the role of a spoiler in the affairs of the 1st defendant (PDP)”, Justice Ekwo said.

“It is not the business of the court to overrule the choice of a political party after such a candidate emerged from a democratically conducted congress.

“The plaintiff failed to discharge the burden of proof through reliable evidence. I, therefore, have no reason to say that the primary election was invalid.

“I can only see the case of the plaintiff from one prism and that is that it is a product of an afterthought and it ought to be treated as such. This suit is accordingly dismissed as lacking in merit,” Justice Ekwo ruled.

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