Ekiti 2022: Bid to sack Oyebanji as APC candidate fails

Biodun Oyebanji

Gov. Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State

By Idowu Gabriel

The Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday struck out a suit filed by Kayode Ojo of the APC challenging the nomination of the governor-elect, Biodun Oyebanji by the party in the June 18 governorship election.

Ojo, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/C5/15/2022 earlier filled in Abuja division of the court which was later transferred to the Ado-Ekiti division is asking the court to declare him as the valid candidate of the APC in the January 27, 2020 governorship primary of the party or nullify the entire shadow exercise.

Other defendants in the suit are the Independent Natioal Electoral Commission, (INEC), Ayo Adegbete, Stephen Aribasoye, Vincent Bewaji, Goke Olajide, Lateef Akanle and Richaed Apolola.

Others are Kayode Fasakin, Adu Joseph Teju Okunyiga, Olumide Fadipe, Dele Oloje, Victor Adebiyi, Folorunso Olabode, Deji Ajayi Sunkanmi Onipede, Kemi Olaleye and Secretary and members of Ekiti Gov’ship Primary Election Committee.

Delivering judgment, Justice Babs Kuewumi, upheld the preliminary objections by the APC in striking out the suit.

He held that since the maker of the signature on the writ of summons and plaintiff’s statement of claims can not be ascertained, the irregularities made the process defective.

The presiding Judge held that something can not be built on nothing, saying since the preliminary objection had been upheld any process on the suit will amount to academics exercise.

” I am in agreement that the statement of claims by the plaintiff is incurably bad, as argued by the first defence counsel.

“I uphold the preliminary objection of the first defendant and I strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction,” Justice Kuewumi ordered.

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The first defendant’s counsel, Mrs Titilayo Soje, in preliminary objections argued that the plaintiff’s statement of claims was signed by an unverified counsel.

Soje argued that non of the four counsel, whose names appeared on the writ of summon and plaintiff’s statement of claims, was neither listed for case nor the signature append on the process linked directly to any of the counsel.

The first defendant counsel, whose brief was held by Mr A I. Idris, when judgment was delivered urged the court to strike out the suit for being defective, incompetence and lacking in merit.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Dr Alex Iziyon SAN, objected to the prayers of the first defendant, arguing that the summon and plaintiff’s statement of claims carried the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) stamp and counsel zeal.

Iziyon, whose brief was held by Mr Taiwo Ogunmoroti on Thursday had earlier urged that the court dismiss the preliminary objection of the first defendant.

Reacting to the judgment, shortly after it was delivered, Counsel to the second defendant,(Biodun Oyebanji), Mr Kabir Akingbolu lauded the judgment.
Akingbolu said since the court struck out the writ of summons, every other processes in the suit becomes futile.

He said, “you can not place something on nothing and expect it to stay, because it is expressed in law that when you are filing a case there must be a foundation, if the foundation is weak, the edifice will crumble, that is exactly what happened in the judgment.”

An attempt to get reaction from the plaintiff’s team of counsel after the judgment led by Ogunmoroti, failed as one of the lawyers in the team only muttered, “we are not commenting.”

Mrs Tamunotonye Ekundayo, counsel to the 8th to 13th defendants, as well as holding briefs of Counsel to the 4th to 7th defendants, Mr S O. Adanlawo.

Mrs Mimi Ayua represented the 14th to 16th defendants, Mr Adedayo Adewumi, represented the 17th to 19th defendants and Mr Ekene Nbam, represented the 20th defendant.

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