An Ondo State Excessive Court docket sitting in Akure, has declared Mr James Ololade-Gbegudu as winner of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Home of Meeting main election for Okitipupa Constituency II.
Mr Ololade-Gbegudu had approached the court docket to hunt an order to compel the get together and INEC to recognise him because the genuine APC candidate for the constituency and never the lawmaker-elect, Mr Sina Akinwunmi, having gained the get together’s main performed on October 5, 2018.
Delivering his judgement that lasted greater than two hours, Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe held that each one proof laid earlier than the court docket by officers of the APC, documentary proof together with the first election outcome sheet adduced by Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Femi Emodamori, confirmed that Ololade-Gbegudu really gained the APC meeting ticket.
Regardless of the judgement, Justice Adegbehingbe, nevertheless, declined to grant different reliefs of the plaintiff that certificates of return earlier issued to Mr Sina Akinwunmi be withdrawn and points to him, stating that the court docket couldn’t pressure the APC to recognise the plaintiff as its genuine candidate for the March 9, 2019 State Meeting polls.
The Court docket additionally dominated that Gbegudu’s case was not filed out of time and never standing barred, noting that the swimsuit introduced on December 22nd, 2018 was nonetheless inside 14 days allowed by the 1999 Structure (as amended).
The decide stated part 87(4) of the Electoral Act (as amended) didn’t mandate the get together to ahead names of Direct Main election winners to INEC, including that the get together may select to not ahead such names as candidate.
In keeping with the court docket, it couldn’t apply Part 87(3) of the Act which solely offers with Oblique main, noting that there was no authority to be cited on the side of winners of get together’s direct main whose names weren’t despatched to INEC.
Additionally dismissed was the objection of the defendants that Gbegudu’s case was filed out of time and statute barred, including that the swimsuit was introduced on December 22nd, 2018 and was nonetheless inside the 14 days allowed by the 1999 Structure (as amended).
Commenting on the decision, Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Femi Emodamori stated his consumer would method the appellate court docket to order INEC to withdraw the certificates of return issued to Akinwunmi and problem it to Gbegudu because the genuine APC candidate for the reason that Excessive Court docket had affirmed him because the winner of the first election held on October 5, 2018 and witnessed by INEC officers.
The defendants within the swimsuit included the APC Ondo State Chairman, Engr. Ade Adetimehin, the get together’s State Secretary, Sina Alaye, INEC and the lawmaker-elect, Sina Akinwunmi Emmanuel.
Ololade-Gbegudu, within the swimsuit, stated he instituted the case after APC and its officers refused to ship his identify to INEC according to the 2010 Electoral Act having gained the first which was performed by APC on fifth October, 2018 and duly monitored by the officers of INEC led by Etukumo U. Andrew, policemen and the Division of State Providers, DSS, personnel.
Via his lawyer, he had urged the Court docket to declare as unlawful and unconstitutional the substitution of the claimant’s identify with Akinwunmi’s identify and compel INEC to recognise and problem certificates of return to Gbegudu because the APC candidate for the Okitipupa Constituency II within the 2019 State Home of Meeting election.
The Claimant averred that he gained the direct main for the Constituency for the Ondo State Home of Meeting with 4,000 votes to beat 5 different aspirants together with Akinwunmi Emmanuel.
The Plaintiff’s lead Counsel, Femi Emodamore, stated, “the Claimant further avers that the total number of accredited voters at the said direct primary election as recorded by the representatives of the 1st Defendant (APC) were 7,000 while the total valid votes were 6,500, out of which he scored the 4,000 due to his overwhelming popularity at the constituency and was declared winner of the primary.”
Emodamore claimed that, “the 4th Defendant (Akinwunmi) scored zero (0) as attested to by the APC Ondo State Legislative Primaries Election Committee. The Claimant shall in this regard rely on the original Summary Result Sheet for State House of Assembly duly signed by Abuh Andrew Abuh and Ahmed Musa Momoh as the Chairman and Secretary of the APC Ondo State Legislative Primaries Election Committee respectively and given to each of the candidates, including the Claimant.”
The Lawyer additional alleged that, “the falsified result, the name of the Claimant (Gbegudu Ololade James) is still visible in the certification column at the bottom of the Result Sheet as the winner. The Claimant’s name was however simply crossed out with a biro/pen (not even completely wiped or blurred out with paint) and on top of it was written in ink the words: WINNER-SINA AKINWUMI EMMANUEL, as against the proper certification column already printed in the Result Sheet.”
Emodamore stated, “an order of mandatory injunction directing the 5th Defendant (INEC) to recognize, publish and/or treat the name of the Claimant as the candidate of the 1st Defendant (APC) for the Okitipupa Constituency II of the Ondo State House of Assembly for the general election for the said constituency seat scheduled to hold on 2/3/2019 or such other date(s) as the 5th Defendant may fix for the election.”
The Court docket agreed with argument of the plaintiff’s Counsel and upheld the submissions particularly as regard the results of the first election.
Counsels to INEC, Bukola Durojaye and that of the APC, Tajudeen Oyerinde expressed satisfaction with the judgement.