Supreme Court Upholds Akeredolu’s Victory in Split Decision
Supreme Court, on Wednesday, upheld the victory of Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorship election in Ondo State.
In the majority judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, four of the seven-member panel dismissed the appeal by Eyitayo Jegede and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), because it was incompetent.
Mr Agim upheld an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal, that the petition filed by Mr Jegede and his party at the election tribunal was incompetent because they failed to include the Yobe Governor and Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the APC, Mai Mala-Buni as a party.
In the minority judgment read by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the court upheld the appeal and dismissed the cross appeal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Akeredolu and the APC.
Mrs Odili and two other members of the panel were of the view that since the APC, for which Mr Buni acted, was a party in the case, there was no need to include him as a party.
The main appeal was filed by the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede against Mr Akeredolu, challenging the competence of APC’s sponsorship of Akeredolu for the election.
Mr Jegede approached the electoral petitions tribunal praying that the declaration of Mr Akeredolu as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be set aside.
He also prayed the apex court to declare him winner on grounds that the emergence of the APC candidate breached the nation’s constitution.
On July 16, the Court of Appeal led by Justice Theresa Orji-Abadua had dismissed the petition filed by Mr Jegede while affirming Mr Akeredolu as the winner of the poll.
In its verdict, the appeal court had out of 7 issues raised for determination resolved four and half in favour of Mr Jegede and the rest two and half in favour of Mr Akeredolu.
Not satisfied with the decision of the appellate court, both Messrs Akeredolu and Jegede, and also INEC approached the Supreme Court for the invalidation of both the Election Petition Tribunal and Appeal Court.
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