court
court

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday declared a factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the April 11, 2015, state Houses of Assembly election in Irele constituency, Hon. Gbadebo Akinola Odimayo, as the authentic candidate of the party.
In his judgment in a suit instituted by Odimayo, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the plaintiff’s name was wrongfully substituted with that of Philip Ajimotoki, who was later declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC.
Both Ajimotoki and Odimayo belong to separate factions of the PDP in the state.
Odimayo had sued the PDP and INEC claiming that he won the party’s primary held on November 2014, at the St. Peters Catholic hall in Ode-Irele, Irele Local Government Area of the state, with 35 votes, and that Ajimotoki emerged as the runner-up with 23 votes.
He claimed that the INEC witnessed the conduct of the primary, which was organised by the party’s executive committee in the state.
He added that after losing in the primary, Ajimotoki went ahead to participate in another primary organised by the national officers of the PDP but not approved by INEC, as a lone candidate.
Odimayo’s name was subsequently substituted with that of Ajimotoki, an action the plaintiff challenged in court.
The plaintiff therefore asked the court to declare the
substitution of his name with that of Ajimotoki as illegal and unlawful.
Odimayo also sought an order restoring is mandate.
Upholding the plaintiff’s case, Justice Mohammed said the sole issue to be determined was whether or not the plaintiff won the PDP
primary in Irele constituency.
He said it was not in contention that the primary was conducted by the state executive committee on November 29, 2014, at the St. Peters Catholic hall in Ode-Irele, in which the plaintiff emerged as winner.
The judge therefore dismissed the defendants’ argument that the primary conducted by the PDP national officers was the authentic one.
Justice Mohammed faulted Ajimotoki’s failure to report his allegation that INEC officials requested financial inducement before they would participate in the primary in which he claimed to have won.
However, the judge held that the only primary which INEC confirmed it monitored and supervised was the one won by the plaintiff.
“All evidence pointed that the plaintiff won the highest number of votes cast,” the judge ruled, adding that “it was therefore wrong for the second defendant (PDP) to substitute the name of the plaintiff with the first defendant.”


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