The Federal High Court in Abuja has been urged to restrain Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State from further parading himself as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the governorship election scheduled for October 10, 2020.
By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
The request is part of the reliefs contained in a suit filed by an aggrieved member of the APC and a governorship aspirant, Nathaniel Adojutelegan, who equally wants the court to void the outcome of the party’s governorship primary held on July 20 this year.
Adojutelegan, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/886/2020, also urged the court to order the APC to conduct a fresh primary election and bar Oluwarotimi Akeredolu from participating in the fresh one to be ordered by the court.
The plaintiff, in the suit, with the APC, Akeredolu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as defendants, argued that the primary was held in violation of the Electoral Act, APC’s constitution, the party’s Electoral Guidelines, among other provisions.
He stated that the “primary was marred by grave and substantial non-compliance with the spirit and purpose of the 1stefendant’s Constitution, Electoral Guidelines and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and these substantially affected the outcome of the primary election.”
The plaintiff added that “the purported nomination of the 2nd defendant (Akeredolu) by the 1st defendant (APC) and submission or likely submission of his name as candidate for the general election is arbitrary, whimsical, unlawful, invalid and without any justification whatsoever.”
Adojutelegan accused Akeredolu of wrongly announcing before the primary that he (plaintiff) had withdrawn, an announcement, he claimed, negatively affected his chances in the primary election.
The plaintiff alleged that the delegates’ list was manipulated in favour of Akeredolu, in violation of the relevant provisions of the party’s constitution and the Electoral Act.
Adojutelegan alleged that the delegates’ list was largely made up of principal officers of the Ward Executive Committees from all Wards in the 0ndo State; all members of the Local Government Executive Committee from all Local Government Areas in 0ndo State; and all members of the 0ndo State Executive Committee.
He added: “none of these categories of purported delegates was elected democratically or howsoever as delegate for the primary by members of the 1st defendant from the various wards in Ondo State as they were merely selected in 2018 and the aforesaid suit pending in the Federal High Court challenges the validity that selection.
“I and some of the other aspirants further protested and rejected the choice of indirect mode and the purported delegates list, all to no avail as the electoral committee was adamantly insistent on using the said indirect mode of primary and the delegates’ list deliberately to ensure that the election was skewed to favour the 2nd defendant being the incumbent governor of the state.
“The decision to conduct indirect primary by the electoral committee was also in clear defiance of or disregard for the pending Suit No. FHC/AK/CS/10/ 19 before the Federal High Court, Akure division filed against the constitutionality and validity of the Ward, Local government and State Executives purported to have emerged from the compromised congresses of 2018, a fact which made it impossible for the 1st defendant to comply with the mandatory provisions of Article 20 of the APC constitution 2014 (as amended.)
“I know as a fact that where indirect mode of primary is to be used by a political party, due delegates’ congresses ought to be conducted at the various wards making up the constituency in question, in this case wards in the entire 0ndo State, to democratically choose by secret ballot, the delegates for the governorship primary.
“I know as a fact that the list of delegates for the election ought to be made available to aspirants within a reasonable time and well before the primary election.
“The 1st defendant failed to comply with these guidelines or constitutional provisions enshrined in the 1st defendant’s constitution.
“Being aggrieved by the result of the primary, I petitioned by way of an appeal against it to the 1st defendant’s appeals committee on 22nd July 2020 and appeared before the committee in Abuja on 24th July 2020 to present my petition/appeal. I have not heard from the Committee since then.
“I know that to allow the outcome of the election to stand is to allow the 2nd defendant to gain from his wrongdoings.
The plaintiff is also seeing among others, “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd defendant from putting himself out or parading himself as candidate of the 1st defendant for the office of Governor of Ondo State in the forthcoming general election for the seat of Governor of Ondo State slated for 10th October 2020 or any other date.”
He also wants “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st and 3rd defendants, their agents, privies, servants and assigns or any person howsoever from recognising and or continuing to recognise the 2nd defendant as the 1st defendant’s candidate for the office of Governor of Ondo State in the forthcoming general election for the seat of Governor of Ondo State slated for 10th October 2020 or any other date or granting to him any right in relation thereto.”