Court nullifies Oyetola’s governorship candidacy

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday evening nullified the nomination of Osun State Governor Mr Gboyega Oyetola and his running mate, Mr Benedict Alabi as candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 16th July governorship election in the state.

The court premised its judgment on the ground that Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, who submitted their names to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

Through its counsel, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had dragged Buni and four others before the court challenging the nomination and sponsorship of Oyetola and his deputy as the duly nominated candidates of the APC.

In challenging the competence of the suit, counsel to Oyetola, Kunle Adegoke, contended that the plaintiff did not have the locus to commence the action and that the suit was statute-barred. Adegoke is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

In arguing to the contrary, Ogunwumiju submitted that the plaintiff rightly commenced the suit under Section 285(14) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

In its judgment, Justice Emeka Nwite agreed with the submissions of the plaintiff’s counsel and declared as null and void, the nomination of Oyetola and Alabi by the APC.

The court also held that Buni acted in contravention of the provision of Section 183 of the Constitution when he held dual executive positions as the Governor of Yobe State and the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the APC.

The court held that the steps or decisions taken by Buni, including forwarding the names of Oyetola and Alabi to INEC, amounted to a nullity in law.

Oyetola lost the election to PDP’s Senator Ademola Adeleke, but is challenging the result at the election tribunal.

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