Wednesday, July 28, 2021 1:57 pm
By Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja
It was a lucky escape for Governor Rotimi Akeredolu at the Supreme Court on Wednesday as he won the battle initiated by Eyitayo Jegede, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to nullify his victory at the October 2010 Ondo governorship election by a split decision of four to three at the apex court.
Jegede had challenged the overwhelming victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the election at the Tribunal and Court of Appeal.
Just like at the appeal court, the main issue of which the PDP asked the apex court to decide on in the suit argued on Wednesday was whether the Malam Mai Buni led National Caretaker Committee of APC was competent to sponsor Akeredolu for the election.
The PDP candidate and his had argued that as a governor, Buni who signed the form presenting Akeredolu to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as candidate of APC for the Ondo governorship election is constitutionally barred from occupying the office of chairman of a political party.
There were also three cross-appeals by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC and Akeredolu.
The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili adjourn for two hours after hearing arguments from lawyers to all the parties in the petition on Wednesday morning.
When they returned, the Justices delivered a split verdict of four to three upholding the election of Akeredolu.
Justice Emmanuel Agim delivered the the majority judgment.
The four Justices argued that Jegede should have joined the APC National Caretaker Committee Chairman in his suit.
But the minority judgment held that since APC was the principal and was made a party, there was no need to join Buni in the suit.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the three Justices argued that Buni being a sitting Governor cannot be acting Chairman of the APC and it was therefore wrong for him to have submitted the name of Akeredolu to INEC as candidate of the APC