Abuja – The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday reserved judgment in the appeal brought before it by Senator Smart Adeyemi, seeking to nullify the governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State which produced Ahmed Usman Ododo as the party’s flag bearer for the state’s governorship election slated for November 11.
Justice Muhammed Shuaibu, who led a three-member panel of the appellate court, told lawyers to parties, after their final submissions that they will be informed when the judgment is ready.
Adeyemi’s appeal is against the July 12 judgment by Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which he is praying the appellate court to set aside on the grounds that the trial court erred in law in reaching its conclusions on issues raised.
He argued that the trial court failed to properly evaluate the proof of evidence that was placed before it by the parties and that, there were inconsistencies in the report tendered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the affidavit that the APC deposed to.
Adeyemi noted that while INEC claimed that option A4 mode was adopted for the primary election it monitored, the APC told the court that the election was through a secret ballot.
The Senator, who was a governorship aspirant of the APC in Kogi State, had sued to challenging the outcome of party’s primary election from which Ododo emerged as the candidate.
In the suit marked FHC/CS/556/2023, Adeyemi alleged that the primary election that purportedly produced Ododo as the APC governorship candidate did not hold and that the results were forged.
He stated that Ododo was handpicked as APC’s candidate by the outgoing Governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, in gross violation of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, Section 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act as well as Article 20 of the Constitution of the APC.
Adeyemi prayed the court cancel the primary election on the grounds that it was not validly conducted and order INEC not to recognize Ododo as the candidate of the party for the governorship election.
In his July 12 judgment Justice Omotosho held that the plaintiff did not, by way of credible evidence, establish his allegation.
The judge noted that Adeyemi had, after he lost in the election, lodged a complaint before an appeal committee that was constituted by the APC, adding that evidence before the court showed that the plaintiff failed to appear before the committee to prove his allegations.
Justice Omotosho held that he found no reason to invalidate the outcome of the primary election and consequently dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.