The Appeal Court, Ado Ekiti Division, dismissed the appeals of three Peoples Democratic Party National Assembly candidates in the February 23 elections in the Northern Senatorial District and upheld the victory of their All Progressives Congress opponents.
The three-man Appeal Court panel upheld the election that produced Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC Ekiti North), after dismissing the petition filed by Senator Duro Faseyi of the PDP.
In the same vein, the Appeal Court affirmed the victory of House of Representatives member, Peter Owolabi (APC Ekiti North Federal Constituency I) and struck out the appeal filed by former House of Representatives member, Kehinde Agboola of the PDP.
The Court also dismissed an appeal filed by Mr Nicholas Omotoso of the PDP challenging the victory of Ibrahim Olanrewaju (APC Ekiti North Federal Constituency II).
The PDP candidates, in the three different appeals, were at the Appeal Court with the claim that the APC Senator and the two House of Representatives members did not score the highest number of lawful votes and that the ruling party did not conduct valid primaries, which meant that the party had no candidates for the polls.
Justice Hamma Akawu Barka, delivering judgment in Faseyi’s appeal against Adetunmbi, said the PDP candidate acted like a busy body by trying to contest the outcome of the APC’s primaries.
He said, “By combined effects of Section 87(9) of the Electoral Act and Section 285(14) of the 1999 Constitution, only aggrieved aspirants who participated in a primary can contest its outcome. Not just anybody. With this, the appellant lacks the locus standi to have filed this appeal in the first instance.
“Looking at all the exhibits tendered, there was no sufficient evidence to prove a case of substantial non-compliance against the respondent, so this case lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed,” the appeal Court Justice said.
Justice Uzo Ndukwe Anyanwu, who delivered the judgment in the appeal filed by Nicholas Omotoso of the PDP against Ibrahim Olanrewaju, said exhibit 3(1) being the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission on the APC primaries relied upon to prosecute the suit, was supposed to be tendered by INEC official and not through the bar.
“We expected the appellant to call the maker of the document so that he can be cross-examined, but rather, he dumped it on the court and this makes it lack probative value and the case lacks merit based on this ground having not called the maker. The document was rendered useless by this action”.
Justice Alfrieda Oluwayemisi Williams-Daudu, delivering the verdict in Kehinde Agboola’s petition, adopted the position held Omotoso’s appeal.
Counsel to the APC candidates, Rafiu Balogun, said, “We are not surprised at the verdicts of the Appeal justices. We salute their industry and commend them for being painstaking in dealing with the issues raised”