Ogun 2023: Appeal Court reinstates Adebutu as PDP candidate


From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

The Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has pronounced Oladipupo Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The court of appellate jurisdiction also reinstated the candidates for the House of Assembly, and National Assembly produced at the end of primaries conducted by the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP.

The National Assembly candidates include three for the Senate and nine for the  House of Representatives produced at the same primaries that were monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The 26 House of Assembly candidates for the party was also restored by the court.

The Federal High Court, sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, had nullified the emergence of Adebutu and other PDP candidates from the primaries in its judgment delivered on September 27. The court had also ordered PDP to conduct fresh primaries within 14 days to elect new candidates.

But Adebutu and others were dissatisfied with the judgment. They, however, appealed the judgment at the Court of Appeal through their counsel. They prayed the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court.

The appeal filed by Adebutu was marked CA/IB/411/411A/2022 against the judgment of Justice O.O. Oguntoyinbo, of the Federal High Court.

On Monday, Justice Nimpar Yargata of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, on the grounds that the trial court erred by nullifying the primaries conducted by the NWC of PDP, which produced Adebutu

The appellate court held that the persons that challenged the emergence of Adebutu in the lower court did not have locus standi to institute the litigation. The court said Taiwo Olabode and others who instituted the case were not aspirants on the platform of PDP, saying they have no right to challenge the outcome of the primary they did not participate in.

Justice Yargata faulted the point of law, which those who instituted the case relied on the court, which was the judicial pronouncement in the case – APC versus Umar. The court held that the point of law has been overtaken by the current provision of the Electoral Act 2022, which specifically says that only aspirants can query the outcome of the primaries.

The NWC of PDP, not the State Working Committee, has the power to conduct primaries as spelt out in Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution, the Court of Appeal declared.

Justice Folasade Ojo of the same Appeal Court also nullified the parallel primaries conducted by the PDP faction in Ogun State, which reportedly produced another governorship candidate and others from the parallel primaries, other than Adebutu and other candidates that emerged from the primaries conducted by the PDP NWC. The court described the parallel primaries as an unlawful gathering.

All five appeals that emanated from the judgment of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State on September 27, were resolved in favour of Adebutu and PDP, and the court has cleared the way for him.

In an interview with journalists, one of the counsel to the appellant, Muyiwa Obanewa, hailed the judgment, saying it was a well-considered one. He noted that the judgment has cleared the coast for Adebutu and other PDP candidates, that emerged from the primaries conducted by the PFP NWC and monitored by INEC to continue with their electioneering ahead of the next year’s general elections.

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