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. . . We Will Abide By Court Order, INEC
. . . Why we Took ADC, INEC To Court – LP
. . . Judgement Will Be Appealed – ADC
There was jubilation in Ogun State Government House shortly after news broke out on the sack of the African Democratic Congress Governorship Candidate, Biyi Otegbeye and 26 Others, by a federal high Court sitting in Abeokuta State, Capital.
Many government officials including the All Progressives Congress Chieftains were sighted in jubilation mood after the news filtered into the town that the major opposition of the incumbent Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun due to the internal wrangling in the People’s Democratic Party in the state has been sacked from the 2023 election .
Also, the speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo was sighted making phone calls, mobilising APC lawmakers to join him at the court.
PLATFORM TIMES’s findings revealed that Otegbeye was a big stumbling block for the reelection of Abiodun in the coming election following the political gang up of bigwigs in the state against the incumbent .
The ADC which is being supported by the former governor of the state,Senator Ibikunle Amosun has made some inroads in Yewa-Awori ,Ogun central and two local government areas in Ogun East.
PLATFORM TIMES further gathered that APC was not part of the suit that led to the sack of the Ilaro son ,Otegbeye and 26 assembly members , though, there seems to be a strong suspicion that the party might have encouraged the complainant on the suit .
PDP and ADC which are believed to be strong enough to oust Abiodun from the office are being rattled by sevaral court matters among others .
Reacting to the judgement, the Ogun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Niyi Ijalaye, said that the development is a judgement of the court which must be abided.
He added that except the matter goes unappealed, that’s the position of the court, and we are law abiding citizens.
In his words, “I do not know what you are talking about. We were guided and we followed the rules.
“That’s the judgement of the court and we abide by whatever the court says. The court is the final arbiter of matters brought before it.
When asked for his reaction on the court ruling that the INEC did not monitor the ADC primary election that produced the governorship candidate, Biyi Otegbeye and 26 members of the assembly, the REC insisted that the court has made the judgement, hence, nothing can be said by the commission to disregard that.
“The decision of the court supersedes whatever you could say. It is the final arbiter of such matters.” He said.
The court had on Friday annulled the African Democratic Congress primary elections which produced Otegbeye as the party governorship candidate and 26 other candidates for the house of Assembly.
Justice Aluko who presided over the judgement held that the primary elections which produced Otegbeye and the state assembly candidates were not monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court also affirmed that the primary elections were held in violation of the Electoral Act.
The court ruled that Otegbeye and the assembly candidates are not the valid candidates of ADC for the 2023 governorship and state assembly elections.
The court therefore ordered INEC to expunge names of Otegbeye and the 26 legislative candidates from the list of candidates cleared for next year’s elections.
Labour Party National Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi, has accused the ADC and the INEC in the state of committing constitutional fraud which led to the court judgement ordering the removal of ADC Candidates from INEC’s approved list.
Following the court ruling that the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) should expunge the names of the ADC candidates, Arabambi lashed out at the INEC for publishing the names of ADC candidates despite that primary elections were not held and monitored by the commission.
Arabambi told PLATFORM TIMES that the party maintains its right as citizens and a political party to challenge any inconsistency perceived against the constitution.
Lashing out at the INEC, he said the Commission which monitored the Labour Party Election failed to publish the candidates names while the names of candidates who didn’t hold a primary election were published.
He further disclosed that it’s not the roles played by who in taking the matter to court that mattered but maintaining that it is their rights as citizens and as a political party.
In his words, “It’s a question of elections and law, not a question of who or what role played. We are a political party and we have the right to challenge any form of constitutional malpractices.
“The Labour Party’s primary election was held, INEC Ogun State monitored it but they didn’t publish the name of our candidates.
“ADC didn’t do their own primary but INEC published their names and we decided to take them to court. What type of constitution are we operating in Nigeria?
“Why will the INEC not publish our candidates name when they monitored the Labour Party’s primary election which we spent so much money on, and they published that of people who didn’t hold the primary election?
“So, it is not a question of who or the role played. We only went to court to challenge the interpretation of the constitution.
“It is a constitutional fraud that we went to challenge. I have the power and right as a serious citizen of this country to challenge anything against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” He submitted.
The Labour Party Legal adviser, Monday Mawah described the judgment as a welcome development.
Mawah said, “Simply put, what transpired in court today is victory for rule of law and democracy. We brought an action to the court challenging the decision of INEC to countenance the list of candidates that purportedly emerged in primaries that never took place by the ADC.
However, counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants (ADC and all the candidates), Tunde Falola, has stated that the party would study details of the judgement and proceed on an appeal.
According to Falola, “The court has given judgement in its own wisdom and it is in favour of the plaintiff. As you know, this is a contest, one way or the other it has to go the way it goes, but that is no the end of the case, we have applied and we have indicated to the court that we are very interested in having access to the judgement as quick as possible with the view to sit down and analyse the judgement with the view of taking further steps in respect of the judgement.
“Constitutionally, every Nigerian, every party before the court whose judgement has been given against has the right, constitutional right to approach the higher court and ventilate his or her grievances. There are some areas which we feel we disagree with judgement of his lordship, that we intend to explore before the court of appeal.
“There are some areas which we feel that the positions of the lordship do not accord with the position of law, that is what we intend to explore.” he submitted.
PLATFORM TIMES recalls that the INEC in the state had told the LP to do the needful by taking their complaint to the INEC head office in Abuja following the missing names of the Party candidates.
The REC had said the Commission is stringent with timing and wouldn’t take lateness of submission lightly until dealt with by the head office.
He said, “For the issue of the Labour Party, they were to transmit their details to the commission electronically, on or before a specific date, and because INEC as a commission is time based, unfortunately for the party, they were not done within time given to the parties for transmission of details.
“When this question was asked before, we told the Labour party in the state to escalate their position through their national party to the commission in Abuja.
“So, it has nothing to do with us here at the state level. So as of now, the Labour Party doesn’t have a candidate.
However, in another development, the African Democratic Congress has instructed its legal team to appeal the court judgement, ensuring party members that the credibility of its candidates would be established.
In a statement obtained by PLATFORM TIMES, the Party, through the National Director Of Communication and Publication, Ifenla Oligbinde Esq. confirming the court ruling, stated that the party is of conviction that the primary election which produced it’s candidates was conducted following due process of the electoral act.
The statement reads in part: “While awaiting details of the judgement, our Legal team have been instructed to appeal the said judgements.
“We are of the firm opinion that the processes through which all our candidates emerged, are in genuine conformity with extant provisions of the electoral act and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We have no doubt whatsoever that the validity of all our candidates will be sustained on appeal. We urge all our party members and supporters to remain calm and focused on their campaign efforts.
“This pattern of distraction cannot change our resolve to form a pro-people’s government in Ogun State in 2023.” He stated.
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