Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, on Tuesday, nullified all primaries conducted by the various factions of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state.
The presiding judge, Justice O. O. Oguntoyibo, called for a rerun of the primaries within 14 days.
The court declared that all the primaries conducted by the PDP in the state were not in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Justice Oguntoyinbo stopped the Independent National Electoral Commission from recognising Ladi Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the party in the state.
The party on May 25 conducted the primary election which produced Adebutu as the governorship candidate.
A former governorship aspirant, Jimi Lawal, had approached the court to challenge the delegates list used during the primary by the Sikirulahi Ogundele-led party executives at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in the state capital.
Three members of Lawal’s group, Taiwo Idris, Kehinde Akala and Ayinde Monsuri, had dragged the party, Adebutu and INEC to court challenging the authenticity of the delegates lists used for the conduct of the primaries.
The plaintiffs contended that those on the list used by the electoral panel for the primaries were not democratically elected at the ward, local government and state congresses, hence the panel “cannot unilaterally or arbitrarily impose” the list on the party.
The plaintiffs, in their originating summons, had prayed the court among others, to nullify or set aside the state congress/indirect primary election, held by the first defendant (the PDP) on May 25, 2022 “to choose the candidate which the first defendant intends to nominate/sponsor at the 2023 governorship election in Ogun State based on the list of delegates who were not democratically elected at the ward congress.”
They also sought an order directing INEC “to disregard and/or refrain from giving effect to the results of the alleged 1st defendant’s indirect primary election held on May 25, 2022 based on the list of ad-hoc delegates who were not elected at the ward congresses constituted by the 1st defendant for that purpose.”
Reacting to the judgment the counsel for the plaintiffs, Thaddeus Idenyi, said, “The court was specific that they have to use the list that has been certified by INEC because after the primary, those lists were submitted to INEC as parts of its report of covering those ward congresses held, so the court has now said is the list which must be considered in the conduct of the fresh primaries.”
Counsel for a factional governorship candidate of the party, Segun Showunmi, Monday Mahwah, while speaking after the judgment, said he was in the court to represent Showunmi after he was joined as the fourth defendant in the suit.
In his reaction, Adebutu’s media aide, Afolabi Orekoya, said the party and his principal were not disturbed over the judgment, saying the court contradicted itself on the same matter.
He said, “The judgments are three; the one filed by Seriki, the one filed by Jimi Lawal and one other. One said we should include other groups. The other authenticated Sikirulahi Ogundele-led executives.
“The judgment is funny because we have won this same case which was filed by Jimi Lawal in Abuja. So, for the same court giving another judgment, it is funny.”
When contacted, Showunmi said the judgment vindicated him.
“I have heard of the judgment and I am happy over it. I have been vindicated,” he said.
The Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Akinloye Bankole, said the party would study the judgment before taking any action.