The Supreme Court in Abuja, on Monday, ordered a retrial of a suit on the dispute over the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Ogun State.
Oladipupo Adebutu had emerged as PDP’s governorship candidate in Ogun State for thr next year’s election, but the outcome has been characterised by internal wrangling in the party.
The Supreme Court ordered that the suit instituted by Jimi Lawal, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the party, be remitted to the Federal High Court for re-trial.
Ibrahim Saulawa, the judge who delivered the lead judgement of the Supreme Court panel that sat on the appeal, said the Federal High Court was wrong in declining jurisdiction on Mr Lawal’s case.
The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeal in Abuja that the High Court has jurisdiction under section 285 of the 1999 Constitution and section 84 [14) of the Electoral Act 2022 to hear the suit on its merit.
Consequently, Mr Saulawa ordered that the case be remitted to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja for determination by another judge other than Taiwo Taiwo who declined to entertain the case.
Mr Lawal who contested the 25 May governorship primary election of the PDP had challenged the emergence of Mr Adebutu alleging that an unlawful delegates list was used by to conduct the election.
Among others, Mr Lawal had prayed that the purported primary election of 25 May be cancelled and another one be conducted with the authentic ad-hoc delegates.
But Mr Taiwo, now a retired judge of the Federal High Court, in his judgment delivered on 29 July, declined to hear Mr Lawal’s case on its merit.
The judge based his decision on the grounds that PDP’s primary election was a domestic affair.
Dissatisfied, Mr Lawal approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja with a prayer that the decision of the High Court be nullified, citing miscarriage of justice.
A three-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal in their judgment delivered on 30 September agreed with Jimi Lawal, set aside judgment of the high court and ordered that the suit be heard on its merit.
The PDP, not satisfied with the Court of Appeal decision approached the Supreme Court on 14 October, praying that the judgment of the Court of Appeal be set aside and that of the Federal High Court be upheld to the effect that the conduct of the primary election is its domestic affair.
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