The Court of Appeal sitting ìn Akure Wednesday declared that the appeal filed by the Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Eyitayo Jegede, against the decision of the Election Petition Tribunal that upheld the election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’, in the October 10, 2020 poll, lacked merit.
The five- man panel led by Justice Theresa Orji-Abadua gave the judgement after considering the seven grounds of appeal of Jegede.
Jegede had approached the appealate court after the tribunal on April 20 dismissed his petition challenging the nomination and election of Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa for lacking merit.
Delivering the lead jugement monitored virtually, Justice Abadua said the appeal was allowed in respect of 1, 2 ,4, 5 with regards to guidelines while issue 6, was partly dismissed and partly allowed.
The appellate court dismissed the grounds 3 and 7 of Jegede’s appeal.
The Court said the Electoral Act did not have the power to override the provision of the constitution with regard to qualification or disqualification of a candidate in an election.
The judge said the appellate court came to a conclusion that the appeal lacked merit though some of the grounds were meritorious.
The remaning Justices on the appeal, H. A Barka, Andenyangtso Ali, and J.G Abudanga concured to the judgment.
Reacting to the judgment, the APC, Ondo State, declared the action of the Appellate Court as an affirmation of the people’s decision.
The Chairman of the State APC Caretaker Committee, Mr Ade Adetimehin, in a statement signed by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye, decried what he called “legal distraction”, which he accused the PDP of plunging the state into.
Adetimehin commended the PDP’s governorship candidate, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, for giving a civilised account of himself by approaching the court, but urged him to consider the interest of the State, and suspend further action.
“The Akeredolu-led government needs to remain focused on its patriotic zeal to develop the State and the people. This calls for the support of all, including leaders of opposing parties”, he argued.
Inviting Mr. Jegede to join the progressive party in Ondo State, the APC chieftain further contended that, “while the PDP built Shoprite in Akure, the APC has built several factories across the state, to trigger economic activities.
The ruling party applauded the Court of Appeal Panel for cementing the judgement of the Tribunal, by upholding a dispassionate, and objective stand on the matter.
However, the PDP and candidate of the party said the decision of the court, would be challenged at the Supreme Court.
The PDP’s position was contained in a statement signed by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Mr Kennedy Peretei.
The PDP said, “In concluding her lead judgement, Hon. Justice Theresa Orji-Abadua said the Appeal was partially dismissed and partially allowed. To the ordinary man in the street, the judgement was “inconclusive” and we must approach the Supreme Court to help them conclude the judgement.
“The kernel of the Eyitayo Jegede/PDP petition was whether or not a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) should be allowed to stay. Whether or not Mai Mala Buni, as a sitting Governor of Yobe State can double as National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, to sign the Nomination of Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN for the Governorship election. While the Court of Appeal acknowledged that it was violation of the Constitution, it still went ahead to dismiss the appeal.
“We are still studying the details of the judgement, by virtue of the fact that it was delivered via Zoom. But we have sufficient grounds to appeal the decision of the Court.
” We are confident the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land will do justice.”