A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit by an aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Jimi Lawal challenging the nomination of Oladipupo Adebutu as the party’s governorship candidate for next year’s election.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment on Thursday held among others, that Lawal failed to prove his claim that the PDP’s governorship primary held on May 25, 2022 was not validly conducted.
Justice Ekwo held that Lawal failed to establish, with credible evidence, his claim that the register/list of voting delegates used during the governorship primary election was marked ‘statutory delegates’ and contained names of political appointees and persons other s against that of the ad-hoc delegates, who were democratically elected at the ward congress of the first defendant, for the purpose of the governorship primaries.
The judge held that Lawal, who scored zero votes in the primary election, was only playing the role of a spoiler having defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) shortly before the primary election.
Justice Ekwo said: “I have considered the whole gamut of the case of the plaintiff, I have not seen where the plaintiff has established, with any concrete documentary evidence, that the register/list of the democratically elected ad-hoc delegates certified by the second defendant, was not used during the first defendant’s Ogun State governorship primary election conduct on 25th May, 2022.
“It is my finding that the plaintiff is merely playing the role of a spoiler in the affairs of the first defendant.
“He has not controverted that averment of the first and third defendants (PDP and Adebutu) that he recently decamped to the first defendant from the All Progressives Congress (APC) sometime in March 2022.
“Assuming there was such an infraction, as alleged by the plaintiff in this case, the llaintiff ought to have protested to the first and second defendants (PDP and INEC) as soon as he witnessed the infraction alleged by him in this case.
“I am certain that the report of the second defendant would have reflected the objection or protest of the plaintiff.
“I do not see the second defendant conniving with the first defendant to cover up the allegation of the plaintiff by issuing a report and not reflecting same.
“This is a primary election in which the third defendant had the highest number of votes cast at the end of voting and was accordingly declared the winner with a total of 714 votes while the plaintiff scored zero votes.
“It not the business of the court to overrule the choice of a candidate of a political party after such candidate has been democratically nominated by the delegates who were elected for the purpose.
“It is the law that contents of pleadings such as the averments that make up the case of the plaintiff must be proved, and must be on preponderance of evidence and balance of probabilities.
“Upon reviewing the evidence in this case, I find that the plaintiff has failed to discharge the onus of proof in this case and upon not being satisfied with reliable and credible evidence, the case of the plaintiff is bound to fail.
“From the state of evidence in this case, I have no reason to say that the primary election of the first defendant held on 25th May, 2022 was invalid, null and void ab initio.
“I can only see this action from one irrefutable prism, that is, it is a product of an afterthought and ought to be treated as such.
“I find that the plaintiff’s case fails for lack of credible evidence and I so hold. I make an order dismissing this case,” the judge said.
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