The Supreme Court of Nigeria has dismissed the case brought by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede, against the election of Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The dismissal on Wednesday by the apex court in Abuja brings to an end the contentions which followed the October 10, 2020, Ondo governorship election.
Mr Akeredolu, the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, was pronounced re-elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the ballots were counted, but the PDP and its candidate disagreed and went to the tribunal.
Mr Akeredolu won at the tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal led by Justice Theresa Orji-Abadua dismissed the petition filed by Mr Jegede while affirming Mr Akeredolu as the winner of the poll.
In its verdict, the Appeal Court had out of seven issues raised for determination, resolved four and half in favour of Mr Jegede and the rest two and a half in favour of Mr Akeredolu.
Apex court ruling
Not satisfied with the decision of the Appellate Court, Mr Jegede approached the Supreme Court for the invalidation of both the Election Petition Tribunal and Appeal Court judgements.
The seven-member of the apex court led by Mary Odili had adjourned till noon on Wednesday after listening to the arguments of all the lawyers of parties in the case.
Upon resumption from the two hours recess, the court dismissed the petition with four judges upholding Mr Akeredolu’s victory against the dissenting judgement of three other justices.
The grounds of the petition were that the APC candidate was not validly nominated, as the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led executive was illegally constituted. The petitioners also alleged massive irregularities at the polls.
Reacting to the court’s decision, Mr Akeredolu described the judgment as an act of God and thanked the judiciary for standing by the truth, advising his opponent to join hands with him to move the state forward.
The PDP in Ondo State, however, said the seven justices of the court agreed that there was a violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Kennedy Peretei, publicity secretary of the party, said the party was encouraged that the court upheld the merit of the case.
“We argued that Mr Buni needed not to be joined because the party that appointed Buni had already been joined,” said Mr Peretei.
“We are not discouraged. The court is the final court of law. We have to abide by the decision of the court.
“The PDP is a strong party. We will go back to the drawing board and restrategise.”
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