Ogun governorship election: Supreme Court reserves judgment

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The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved judgment on the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it’s candidate in the March 18, 2023 governorship election, Ladi Adebutu against Gov. Dapo Abiodun.

After hearing of the appeal by Adebutu, the apex court five member panel of justices led by Justice John Okoro reserved judgment for a day that will be convenient for parties involved.

Adebutu’s appeal is seeking the nullification of declaration of Abiodun as winner of the election.

The apex court, however, declined to hear the cross appeals filed by the APC and the INEC, insisting that it abides from the outcome of the main appeal filed by Adebutu.

Efforts by the APC’s counsel to move the cross appeals were refused by the panel as the panel held that the main appeal covers them.

Adebutu is challenging Abiodun’s re-election on the ground that the Electoral Act, 2022 was not adhered to, citing corrupt practices and issue of non-qualification.

The PDP and Adebutu want the supreme court to set aside and dismiss the judgement of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which had on November 23, 2023 affirmed the decision of the Tribunal in upholding Abiodun’s victory.

Two Judges of the court below had dismissed the appeal filed by Adebutu for lacking in merit, while Justice Jane Inyang saw merit in the petition and thereby ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return presented to Abiodun and conduct another election in 99 polling units where elections were disrupted.

In adopting his brief of arguments, Chris Uche SAN, counsel for the appellants said INEC ought to have conducted fresh elections in 99 polling units where elections were cancelled and not declared a winner.

He said the return of the governor by INEC was unlawful and the election was wrongly concluded because corrupt practices were allegedly manifest during the March 18, 2023 governorship poll.

However, counsel for the first respondent(INEC), asked the apex court to dismiss the appeal.

He maintained that both governorship and presidential elections are not determined by margin of lead but by spread of votes, according to Section 179 of the 1999 Constitution.

INEC had declared Abiodun winner of the governorship election after polling 276,298 votes to defeat his closest rival Adebutu, who polled 262,383 votes.

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