Ondo guber: Court tells APC, INEC, others to file defence against Aiyedatiwa

 

Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Tuesday ordered the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other parties in the suit to file their defence in a suit seeking the removal of Aiyedatiwa as APC gubernatorial candidate for November election.

The Ondo state governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, is also expected to file his defence.

Their respective defences, the Judge ordered, must be filed within days allowed by law, saying the suit was a time bound one.

The order of the court followed a claim by the APC that it had written a letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court requesting for transfer of the case from Abuja to Ondo state.

At the proceedings, APC lead counsel, Tayo Oyetibo informed the Court that his client had forwarded a letter to the Chief Judge praying for movement of the case from the Abuja division to Akure division.

He, however, admitted that APC had not received any response to the letter.

Justice Ekwo in his response held that there was no letter before him and as such, and cannot act on anything not before the court.

The judge then ordered that with or without the letter before him, the defendants must respond to the issues raised by the plaintiff, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim against the conduct of the primary election that produced Aiyedatiwa as APC gubernatorial candidate.

APC in its letter by Matthew Bukkar SAN, dated May 12 but received in Chief Judge’s Office on May 13, 2024, claimed that the primary election being challenged was conducted in Akure, the Ondo state capital.

It explained that it has a functional office in Akure with State Working Committee on ground with the office of the electoral body also in Akure.

Besides, APC said that Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa whose candidacy was being challenged was s resident in Akure.

The party, therefore, said that Akure division of the Federal High Court was the approximate convenient place for the case to be determined.

However, counsel to the plaintiff, Chief Chris Uche SAN was prevented from reacting to the letter on the ground that the said letter was not before the court.

After issuing the order, Justice Ekwo fixed May 29 for hearing of the suit with a warning that all processes in respect of the suit must be filed and exchanged by parties.

Ibrahim who is representing Ondo South in the Senate, is praying the court to cancel the nomination of Aiyedatiwa as APC candidate on the ground that the April 20 primary election that produced him was unlawful.

In the suit instituted on his behalf by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chris Uche, Ibrahim, a governorship aspirant who participated in the primary election alleged that the poll was marred with a lot of irregularities.