The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the appeal brought by Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), against the election of Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Governor Akeredolu winner of the he election.
But aggrieved by the declaration, Jegede approached the election petition tribunal, alleging irregularities in the election.
The tribunal and the Appeal Court dismissed Jegede’s case against the governor. He filed an appeal at the apex court.
After listening to submissions from counsel, the court dismissed the petition with four judges upholding Governor Akeredolu’s victory against the dissenting judgement of three other justices.
In his appeal, Jegede had told the court 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.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has joined members of APC in felicitating with Akeredolu over the Supreme Court judgement which upheld his re-election in the October 10, 2020 polls.
The president, in a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina, urged the governor and all elected leaders of the governing party, to always place the people first in their consideration of development programmes and projects, affirming that the popularity of the APC would continue to depend on performance and acceptance by the electorate.
President Buhari extolled the Ondo State governor for assiduously working for the development of the state, with reforms that continue to attract the goodwill of investors, and insistence that education, health and security take priority.
The president noted that the Supreme Court judgment, preceded by that of the Court of Appeal, further bolsters the strength and reach of the APC and its chances of consolidation in coming elections.
President Buhari called on the opposition to sheathe the sword, work for the development of Ondo State.
In its reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the split judgment by the Supreme Court on the nomination of Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, shows that there is merit in its appeal against his election as governor.
The party stated that the majority judgement as presented by the Supreme Court did not address the impunity in the action of the Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, in functioning as the chairman of the APC while at the same time holding office as a sitting governor, contrary to the provisions of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as the constitution of the APC.
The party added that the fact that three justices out of the seven-man panel upheld our position on the illegality of Akeredolu’s nomination confirms that his candidacy was a brazen violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as the constitution of the APC.
The national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it is noteworthy that the judgement did not disagree with PDP’s position that Mai Mala Buni as governor of Yobe State cannot function as national chairman of a political party and nominate a candidate for election to INEC.
“While our party restates its utmost respect for the institution of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, the PDP had expected the apex court to stand up as the conscience of our nation by halting the absurdities and impunities being entrenched in the political firmament by the APC.
“The quest for a legal pronouncement that will guide the sanctity of our electoral system was the reason the PDP had explored our point of grievance legally to the highest court in the land, in the interest of the nation, and not just because of our candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.”
The PDP however urged its members in Ondo State and other Nigerians not to allow the development make them lose hope but to remain calm and law-abiding in the general interest of the nation.