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KOGI: Court dismisses Smart Adeyemi’s suit against Ododo over APC primary

THE Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by Senator Smart Adeyemi challenging the primary election that produced Ahmed Ododo as the candidate of the All Progressive Congress for the Kogi State Governorship Election scheduled for November 2023.

Senator Adeyemi, a former lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District had approached the Federal High Court seeking to nullify the Governorship Primary Election the All Progressives Congress, APC, held in the state on the ground that it was not validly conducted.

However, delivering Judgement, Justice James Omotosho, held that Adeyemi did not prove his allegation that Ododo was not lawfully nominated by the APC.

Omotosho further held that the plaintiff did not by way of credible evidence, establish his allegation.

The court held that contrary to the position of the plaintiff, there was evidence that the primary election was validly held and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

It also held that the allegations the plaintiff raised in the suit were criminal in nature and therefore ought to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Justice Omotosho held that the plaintiff failed to discharge the burden of proof that was placed on him by the law.

Reacting to the judgement, Senator Adeyemi, through his counsel, says he will appeal the judgement.

Senator Adeyemi had prayed the court to declare as illegal, unlawful and invalid, the purported direct primary election said to have been conducted by the APC, through which Ododo emerged as a candidate for the governorship poll.

He told the court that Ododo was handpicked as flag-bearer of the party by the outgoing Governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, in gross violation of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, Section 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act as well as Article 20 of the Constitution of the APC.

He, therefore, urged the court to declare the primary election as invalid and to issue an order, compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not to recognise Ododo as the bonafide candidate of the party for the governorship election.

He is also praying for an order that the APC, conduct a fresh primary election and to give all aspirants equal opportunity as prescribed by the Electoral Act, 2022.

Adeyemi alleged that whereas INEC claimed that option A4 mode was adopted for the primary election it monitored, the APC, told the court that the election was through secret ballot.

The former lawmaker had in a 35-paragraph affidavit he filed in support of his originating summons, told the court that he obtained nomination and expression of interest forms from the party at the cost of ₦50 million, following which he was screened and cleared to participate in the primary election that was slated for April 14, 2023.

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