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Court strikes out suit against Oyebanji’s eligibility

By Oludamisi Ojo
A Federal High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has struck out a suit filed by an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant, Mr Kayode Ojo, challenging the victory of the Governor-elect, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji in the January 27, 2022 party’s primary.

The court upheld the preliminary objection of the counsel to Oyebanji, Kabir Akingbolu, that the writ of summons and statement of claims of Ojo were defective which dealt a fatal blow to the case.


Other defendants in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission, Ayo Adegbite Adeoye Aribasoye, Vincent Bewaji Goke Olajide, Lateef Akanle Richard Apollo), Kayode Fasakin Adu Joseph and Teju Okuyiga.

The rests are Olumide Fadipe, Dele Oloje  Victor Adeniyi Folorunso Olabode Deji Ajayi, Sunkanmi Onipede, Kemi Olaleye and the Secretary and Members of the Ekiti APC 2022 Gubernatorial Primary Electoral Committee who were all local government returning officers.

The court in a judgment on Thursday delivered by Justice Babs Kuewumi agreed with Oyebanji’s counsel that the discrepancies in the originating processes had rendered the case academic.

Police rescue 4 persons from jungle justice on Eko bridge

Justice Kuewumi held that the names of counsel on the Plaintiff’s originating summons and statement and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) stamp ran contrary which is against the law rendering the suit defective and incompetent.

The name on the NBA stamp of one of the lawyers of Ojo reads “Moroof Bolanle,” while the one that appears on the list of lawyers submitted for the case reads “Olayinka Bolanle.”

According to the judge, further scrutiny of the Plaintiff’s writ of summons and statement of claim reveals two different signatures which render the suit invalid ab initio.

“The signatures on the writ of summons and the statement of claim are not the same. There is no jurisdiction, there is no case. I will make copies of my judgment available to counsels tomorrow.

“Having ruled on the issue of the bobjection there is no further judgment to deliver. The Plaintiff is free to approach the higher court for appeal,” the judge held.

Earlier, the judge expressed appreciation to all counsels for their industry and cooperation as the matter was expeditiously heard and determined.

Counsel to the Ojo, MMrTaiwo Ogunmoroti, had earlier urged the court to make the judgment available to him for perusal and any possible action.

But counsel to Oyebanji, Mr Akingbolu, in a chat with reporters after the judgment was delivered, expressed satisfaction with the verdict which he said was in line with the law and the rules of the court.

Akingbolu said: “Before a process is filed in court, a known lawyer must sign it but many lawyers subscribed to this originating process but there was only one signature. The law is that you must tick the name of the person who signed it and this was not done in this case.

“Again, the NBA seal, which is the authority of office for a lawyer to signal document was affixed but the name on the seal was different from the one on all the process.

Police rescue 4 persons from jungle justice on Eko bridge

“So, there was no way the court could determine whether it was signed by a clerk or whether it was signed by a street urchin or a lawyer. On the ground, the court has rightly thrown away the case and the whole thing has crumbled.

“What the court is saying is that whatever you put on it cannot stand. You cannot build a castle in the air, it is. bot just possible.”

The judgment was consequent upon the adoption of written addresses by parties in the suit last Friday, July 29 in which their counsels urged the court to uphold their statement of claims and grant them the reliefs they were seeking.

Ojo was dissatisfied with the conduct of the primary and approached the court to challenge the “gross irregularities” faulting the use of individuals he described as political appointees as an electoral committee/returning officers.

The official result declared by the Chairman of the Ekiti APC 2022 Governorship Primary Election Committee, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State gave Oyebanji 101, 703 votes to defeat Ojo who came second with 767 votes.

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