N2.4bn Judgment Debt: Supreme Court Restores GTB’s Appeal Against Innoson Motors

A file photo of a courtroom at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Supreme Court has reversed its earlier decision which dismissed an appeal by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) against a N2.4 billion judgment given in favour of Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited by the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, Oyo State.

A judgment delivered by a five-member panel led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola unanimously held that the apex court erred when it erroneously dismissed the appeal filed by GTB in its ruling on February 27, 2019.

In the lead judgment written by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the court held that it was misled by its registry which failed to promptly bring to the notice of the panel that sat on the case in 2019 that GTB had already filed its appellant’s brief of argument.

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The judgment was on an application by GTB seeking the re-listing of the appeal on the grounds that it was wrongly dismissed.

The Supreme Court stated that had the panel that sat on the case in 2019 been notified of the existence of the appellant’s brief of argument, it would not have given the ruling which dismissed GTB’s appeal on grounds of lack of diligent prosecution.

Relying on Order 8 Rules 16 of the Supreme Court’s rules, Justice Abubakar, in the lead judgment, held that the apex court has the power to set aside its decision in certain circumstances, like any other court.

He explained that such circumstances include where there was any reason to do so, where any of the parties obtained judgment by fraud, default or deceit, where such a decision was a nullity, or where it was obvious that the court was misled into giving a decision.

Justice Abubakar held that the circumstances of the GTB case fell into the category of the rare cases where the Supreme Court could amend or alter its own order on the grounds that the said order or judgment did not present what it intended to record.

“I am convinced that at the material time that the appellant’s appeal was inadvertently dismissed by this court, there was in place, a valid and subsisting brief of argument filed by the applicant,” he stated.

“It will be unjust to visit the sin of the court’s registry on an innocent, vigilant, proactive and diligent litigant. it is obvious from the material before us that there were errors committed by the registry of this court, having failed to bring to the notice of the panel of justices that sat in chambers on the 27th February, 2019 that the appellant had indeed filed its brief of argument.

“This is a case deserving of positive consideration by this court. Having gone through all the materials in this application, therefore, I am satisfied that the appellant/applicant’s brief of argument was filed before the order of this court made on the 27th of February 2019, dismissing the applicant’s appeal.

“The order dismissing the appeal was, therefore, made in error. It ought not to have been made if all materials were disclosed. The application is, therefore, meritorious and hereby succeeds.”

Justice Abubakar proceeded to set aside the court’s ruling of February 27, 2019 dismissing GTB’s appeal and ordered that the appeal marked: 694/2014 “be relisted to constitute an integral part of the business of this court until its hearing and determination on the merit.”

Other members of the panel – Justices Ariwoola, John Okoro, Helen Ogunwumiju, Abdu Aboki – agreed with the lead judgment.

Trump Asks Supreme Court To Block Release To Capitol Riot Probe

In this file photo former US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House on September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

Former US President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block the release of White House records to a congressional committee investigating the January 6 assault on the Capitol by his supporters.

Trump asked the nation’s highest court to stay a ruling this month by a federal appeals court which rejected his attempt to keep the documents and records secret.

Trump, who has been accused of fomenting the assault on Congress, is seeking to exercise his privilege as a former president to keep White House records and communications that might relate to the attack under wraps.

The appeals court agreed with a lower court this month that ruled President Joe Biden could waive executive privilege on the records so they could be handed over to the panel investigating the violence by Trump supporters.

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In a filing with the Supreme Court, Trump’s lawyers argued that “a former president has the right to assert executive privilege, even after his term of office.”

They condemned the congressional records request as “strikingly broad” and accused the committee in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives of conducting an investigation of a “political foe.”

“Congress may not rifle through the confidential, presidential papers of a former President to meet political objectives,” Trump’s lawyers said.

“In an increasingly partisan political climate, such records requests will become the norm regardless of what party is in power,” they said.

Trump’s lawyers defended executive privilege, saying it affects “the ability of presidents and their advisers to reliably make and receive full and frank advice, without concern that communications will be publicly released to meet a political objective.”

The US Court of Appeals agreed to delay the release of the White House records until lawyers for the former Republican president could file their appeal to the Supreme Court.

Trump’s lawyers asked the conservative-majority Supreme Court to schedule a hearing on whether the probe request is constitutional and to block release of the documents in the meantime.

In response, the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection reportedly asked the Supreme Court to expedite consideration of Trump’s filing, with a House counsel writing to the justices that a delay “would inflict serious injury” on the committee and the public.

Public Interest 

In its ruling, the appeals court said “the right of a former president certainly enjoys no greater weight than that of the incumbent.”

“In this case, President Biden, as the head of the Executive Branch, has specifically found that Congress has demonstrated a compelling need for these very documents and that disclosure is in the best interests of the nation,” the court said.

The appeals court said the public interest was greater than Trump’s own in relation to the records, which are held by the National Archives.

The records are being sought by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attempt by hundreds of Trump supporters to block certification of Biden’s November 2020 election victory.

Documents that Trump hopes to block include emails, phone records, briefing materials and other records.

The more than 770 pages include records of his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his former senior advisor Stephen Miller and his former deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.

Trump has also sought to block the release of the White House Daily Diary — a record of his activities, trips, briefings and phone calls.

Another trove of documents Trump does not want Congress to see includes memos to his former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, a handwritten note on the January 6 events and a draft text of his speech at the “Save America” rally, which preceded the attack.

AFP

US Supreme Court Hears Texas Abortion Law Case

The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC on November 1, 2021. The Supreme Court is set to hear challenges to Texas’ restrictive abortion laws.

 

 

The conservative-majority US Supreme Court hears challenges on Monday to the most restrictive law passed since abortion was made a constitutional right nearly 50 years ago — a Texas bill that bans a woman from terminating a pregnancy after six weeks.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the court in downtown Washington ahead of two hours of arguments before the nine-member panel.

“Keep Your Laws Off Our Bodies,” read signs carried by demonstrators supporting the right to an abortion. “Let Their Hearts Beat,” read signs carried by anti-abortion protesters.

The “Texas Heartbeat Act” bans abortions after a heartbeat can be detected in the womb, which is normally around six weeks — before many women even know they are pregnant — and makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

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The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority after Donald Trump nominated three justices, is to hear two hours of arguments in a case that has sparked a fierce legal and political battle.

The Supreme Court was asked by abortion providers to block the law when it took effect on September 1, but the court declined to do so citing “procedural issues.”

The case is now back before the top court after Texas, the second-largest US state, was sued by Democratic President Joe Biden’s Justice Department and a coalition of abortion providers, who say the restrictions are unconstitutional.

Biden was among those who criticized the court for failing to tackle a law that “blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade,” the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling enshrining a woman’s legal right to an abortion.

Laws restricting abortion have been passed in other Republican-led states but were struck down by the courts because they violated previous Supreme Court rulings that guaranteed the right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, which is typically around 22 to 24 weeks.

– ‘Why are they making me keep it?’ –
Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB8) differs from other efforts in that it insulates the state by giving members of the public the right to sue doctors who perform abortions, or anyone who helps facilitate them, once a heartbeat is detected.

They can be rewarded with $10,000 for initiating cases that land in court, prompting criticism that the state is encouraging people to take the law into their own hands.

“The most pernicious thing about the Texas law is it sort of creates a vigilante system, where people get rewards,” Biden said at the White House in September.

Many clinics in Texas — fearful of potentially ruinous lawsuits — have closed their doors, and the number of abortions in the state fell to 2,100 in September from 4,300 a year earlier, according to a University of Texas study.

Planned Parenthood, one of the largest providers of women’s health care in the nation, sent a 30-page legal brief to the court containing testimony from women and doctors affected by the Texas law.

One patient, identified as I.O., was 12 years old.

“The mother said they could not travel out of State — they had barely made it to the Texas health center,” the brief said.

The 12-year-old was quoted as saying, “Mom, it was an accident. Why are they making me keep it?”

The Supreme Court could make a decision at any time after oral arguments but is widely expected to rule before hearing another abortion case on December 1.

In that case, the court will hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks.

At least four justices appear ready to block the Texas law: the three liberals on the court and Chief Justice John Roberts, who expressed concerns about SB8 when it previously appeared before the court.

“Now the question is, ‘Is there a fifth vote?'” Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, asked on a podcast.

Supreme Court Fixes January 17 To Hear Rivers’ Suit On Ceding Of Oil Wells To Imo

A file photo of the Supreme Court in Abuja.

 

The Supreme Court has fixed January 17, 2022 to hear the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the main suit, in the case instituted by the Rivers State Government, seeking to stop the Federal Government from ceding 17 oil wells in the state, to Imo State.

The seven-man panel led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, fixed the date after counsels to the Attorney General of the Federation, and Imo State, Remi Olatubora (SAN) and Olushola Oke (SAN), told the court that they had two motions challenging the competence of the suit and the court’s jurisdiction.

According to them, they believe these motions, ought to take precedence over the main suit.

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The legal team to the Rivers State Government however told the court their summons for direction by the court in streamlining the various applications, ought to take precedent.

He suggested that the motions by the Imo State Government should be heard with the main suit.

Rivers State had taken the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Imo State Government, before the apex court.

The oil-rich state had sought a declaration that the boundary between Rivers and the Imo States, as delineated on Nigeria’s administrative map and other maps bearing similar delineations, are inaccurate and do not represent the legitimate boundaries between both states.

Plaintiff also sought a declaration that as far as Nigeria’s administrative map 10,11 and 12 editions and other maps bearing similar delineations relate to the boundaries between Rivers and Imo, the said maps are unlawful and void, cannot be relied on to determine the extent of the territorial governmental jurisdiction of Rivers state and to determine the revenue accruing to Rivers state from the federation account, including the application of the principle of derivation and other revenue allocation principles as contained in the 1999 Constitution.

It further applied that the Supreme Court declares that the correct instrument maps and documents, to be relied on determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo state, are those used by the plaintiff in delineating the boundary line between Rivers and Imo state.

Plaintiff also sought a declaration that all the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities are wrongly attributed to Imo state and that they are all oil wells within the territory of Rivers state and form part of Rivers state and that it is only rivers that are entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue from the oil wells on the basis of the 1390 derivation as contained under section 162 of the 1999 constitution.

Rivers, therefore, sought an order of mandatory injunction directing the AGF to calculate, to its satisfaction, and refund to it all revenue that have been wrongly attributed to or paid to Imo state on account of the limit or extent of their territories, including earnings due to it from revenue derived from Akri and Mbede oil wells.

The plaintiff also sought an order of Injunction directing the AGF to withdraw from circulation its administrative map 10,11 and 12th editions and to refrain from relying on any of the said maps for the purpose of determining the boundary between Rivers and Imo state.

Rivers also applied for another order of mandatory injunction directing AGF to produce an administrative map bearing the correct boundary between Rivers and Imo state.

 

 

 

 

US Justice Dept Asks Supreme Court To Block Texas Abortion Law

A view of the U.S. Supreme Court on September 1, 2021 in Washington, DC.  AFP

 

US President Joe Biden’s administration, in the latest move in the battle over reproductive rights, asked the Supreme Court on Monday to block a Texas law that bans most abortions in the state.

The Texas law is “clearly unconstitutional” and violates the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which enshrined a woman’s legal right to an abortion, the Justice Department said.

Allowing the Texas law to remain in force would “perpetuate the ongoing irreparable injury to the thousands of Texas women who are being denied their constitutional rights,” the department said in its request to the nation’s highest court.

The Justice Department filing is the latest legal maneuver in the fight over the controversial Texas law known as Senate Bill 8 (SB8), which bans abortions after six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Calling it “flagrantly unconstitutional,” US District Judge Robert Pitman issued a preliminary injunction earlier this month halting enforcement of the Texas law, which took effect on September 1.

“This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right,” Pitman said in a blistering decision.

Days later, however, the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the Texas law pending a full hearing in December.

In its filing on Monday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to vacate the appeals court decision.

The conservative-leaning Supreme Court last month cited procedural issues when it decided by a 5-4 vote against intervening to block the Texas law, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

It did not rule on the merits of the case brought by abortion providers.

 ‘Texas Heartbeat Act’ 

The “Texas Heartbeat Act” allows members of the public to sue doctors who perform abortions, or anyone who helps facilitate them, once a heartbeat is detected in the womb, which usually occurs at around six weeks.

They can be rewarded with $10,000 for initiating cases that lead to prosecution, prompting charges that the law encourages people to act as vigilantes.

The Texas law is part of a broader conservative drive to restrict abortions across the United States that has prompted a public backlash.

Laws restricting abortion have been passed in other Republican-led states but were struck down by the courts because they violated Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, which is typically around 22 to 24 weeks.

The Supreme Court is to hear a challenge on December 1 to a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

It will be the first abortion case argued before the court since the nomination of three justices by former Republican President Donald Trump, giving conservatives a 6-3 majority on the panel.

Advocates of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy have called on Congress to enshrine the right to an abortion in federal law to protect it from any possible reversal by the Supreme Court.

A bill to that effect was adopted recently in the Democratic majority House of Representatives but has no chance of passing the Senate, where Republicans have enough votes to block it.

 

Okowa Mourns Supreme Court Judge, Samuel Oseji

Late Justice Samuel Chukwudumebi Oseji

 

Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has mourned the death of a legal icon and a justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Samuel Oseji.

Oseji, who was sworn in as a justice of the apex court in Nigeria in November 2020, hailed from Idumuje-Unor in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta. He died at 67 on Monday in Abuja after a brief illness.

Governor Okowa, in a statement on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, commiserated with the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the people of Aniocha North Local Government Area, and Idumuje-Unor community over the death of the statesman.

“The news of his death came to me as a great shock and I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife, Dr (Mrs) Minnie Oseji, a Permanent Secretary in the civil service of Delta State, the family and people of Aniocha North Local Government Area, and Idumuje-Unor community in particular as well as his colleagues at the Supreme Court on the passing of the renowned statesman and serving Justice of the Supreme Court,” Okowa said.

According to the governor, the deceased was a well-respected and humble jurist whose trust in God and passion for justice with unassailable integrity took him to greater heights in his career and life.

He described the late Oseji as a quintessential and intellectual jurist whose pronouncements on the bench had advanced the course of justice delivery in Nigeria.

Okowa added, “As a bastion of knowledge and inspiration, a man of great wisdom and insight, Justice Oseji contributed immensely to the development of our country’s jurisprudence in the several capacities he served.

“As a government, we acknowledge his role and efforts as first substantive Chief Registrar of Delta State Judiciary and later as Judge of the High Court of Delta, before his elevation to the Court of Appeal in 2010.

The governor also cancelled all official engagements for the day in honour of the late jurist.

Viral SANs-Designate List Is Fake, Unofficial – Supreme Court

A file photo of the CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

 

 

The Supreme Court has described as fake and official, a list being circulated online as names of lawyers penned for the award of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) rank for 2021.

In a statement issued by the Director of Press and Information at the Supreme Court Festus Akande on Wednesday, the apex court distanced itself from the list.

The Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC), a body chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), gives the highly coveted award to deserving lawyers annually and is domiciled at the Supreme Court.

The apex court’s spokesman noted that the 2021 list of SANs-designate in circulation online did not emanate from the LPPC.

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“We wish to state clearly that the above information is fake, unofficial and untrue. It’s a mere figment of the imagination of the authors who may ostensibly be on a mission to impugn and malign the reputation and integrity of the LPPC with a view to causing confusion and skepticism in the public space,” the statement partly read.

“The information should be discountenanced by whosoever might have come across it. For the umpteenth time, we wish to let the public know that any information, especially issues regarding the above topic can only emanate from the office of the LPPC Secretary/Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. Anything outside this official source should be disregarded.”

Akande noted that the LPPC traditionally announces names of successful applicants for the award of SAN rank in reputable national dailies, adding that this year’s edition would not be an exception.

He also warned that purveyors of fake news would be arrested and given appropriate sanctions to serve as a deterrent to others.

What We Expected Of Supreme Court’s Verdict On Akeredolu’s Election – PDP

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, reacts to the Supreme Court verdict of July 28, 2021, at the Government House in Akure.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted the majority judgment of the Supreme Court on the Ondo State governorship election.

In a statement on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP insisted that the nomination of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate was flawed.

It stressed that the split judgment by the apex court on Akeredolu’s nomination proved that there was merit in the appeal against his election as governor.

“While our party restates its utmost respect for the institution of the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, the PDP had expected the apex court to stand up as the conscience of our nation by halting the absurdities and impunities being entrenched in the political firmament by the APC,” the statement said.

It added, “The party notes that the majority judgement, as presented by the Supreme Court, did not address the impunity in the action of the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, in functioning as the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while at the same time holding office as a sitting governor, contrary to the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as the constitution of the APC.”

Candidate of the PDP for the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, spoke to reporters on September 5, 2020.
A file photo of the PDP candidate in the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede.

 

According to the opposition party, the fact that three justices out of the seven-man panel upheld its position on the illegality of Akeredolu’s nomination confirms his candidacy as ‘cancerous’.

It described such an action as a brazen violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as the constitution of the ruling party.

The PDP noted that that the judgement of the apex court did not disagree with its position that Mr Buni, as Governor of Yobe State, cannot function as the national chairman of a political party and nominate a candidate for election to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It explained that the quest for a legal pronouncement that would guide the sanctity of the nation’s electoral system was the reason it explored its point of grievance legally to the highest court in the land, in the interest of the nation and not just because of its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.

The party, however, urged its members in Ondo and across the country not to allow the development make them lose hope, but to remain calm and law-abiding in the general interest of the nation.

Ondo Poll: Buhari Praises Akeredolu, Asks Opposition To Sheathe Its Sword

In this file photo taken on September 4, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari endorses Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the APC candidate in the Ondo State governorship election.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on his victory at the Supreme Court.

He also commended the judgement of the apex court which upheld the re-election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the October 10, 2020 polls.

The President praised the governor on Wednesday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

He urged Governor Akeredolu and all elected leaders of the ruling party to always place the people first in their consideration of development programmes and projects.

President Buhari affirmed that the popularity of the APC would continue to depend on performance and acceptance by the electorate.

He also commended the governor for assiduously working for the development of the state, with reforms that continue to attract the goodwill of investors, and insistence that education, health and security take priority.

The President noted that the Supreme Court Judgement, preceded by that of the Court of Appeal, has further bolstered the strength and reach of the APC and its bright chances of consolidation in coming elections.

He called on the opposition to sheathe the sword, work for the development of Ondo State, and wished the government and people a prosperous future.

A seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court had upheld the re-election of Governor Akeredolu after hearing the appeal of Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While four of the justices held his re-election, the three others disagreed with the majority judgement, stressing that Akeredolu’s candidacy in the October 10, 2020, poll was a nullity.

They held that the appeal filed by the appellants had merit and ought not to be struck out by the appellate court.

Jegede and his party had asked the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital to sack Akeredolu because his nomination form was signed by a sitting governor, Mai Mala Buni (of Yobe State), who doubled as the Acting National Chairman of the APC.

The appeal was filed in line with the constitutional provision that forbade a sitting governor from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

But the appellate court struck out the appeal for lack of merit – a decision which made the appellants seek redress in at the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Upholds Akeredolu’s Election

FILE PHOTO: Akeredolu won on the back of a campaign in which he promised to provide composed and focused leadership. Credit: Rotimi Akeredolu/Facebook

 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the re-election of Rotimi Akeredolu as Governor of Ondo State.

Akeredolu’s victory was affirmed after four of the seven justices of the Supreme Court that heard the case upheld his candidacy in the October 10, 2020 election in the state.

Three other justices disagreed with the majority judgement, insisting that Akeredolu’s candidacy in that election is a nullity.

The minority judgement held the view that the appeal has merit and ought not to be struck out by the appeal court.

Akeredolu was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo State.

The PDP and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede had earlier approached the appeal court to challenge the candidacy of Akeredolu, insisting that his nomination form was signed by a sitting Governor Mai Buni who doubles as the Acting National Chairman of the party.

The appeal was based on the constitutional provision which forbids sitting Governors from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

They prayed the court to nullify Akeredolu’s candidacy, but the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital, on June 16, struck out the appeal for lack of merit.

At the Supreme Court, the outcome was the same for the PDP as the majority judgement backed the decision of the appeal court.

 

Victory Again

 

Governor Akeredolu, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, was re-elected on the back of a campaign in which he promised to provide composed and focused leadership marked by economic growth and improved security for people in the state.

He polled 292,830 votes – winning 15 of the 18 local governments – to defeat Jegede who scored 195,791 votes, and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) who came third in the election with 69,127 votes.

It was the second time the governor would defeat his PDP rival candidate.

Akeredolu, who had Ajayi as his running mate when he first contested for the office, beat Jegede to win his first term as governor in 2016 before the ZLP candidate chose to go against his boss and join the governorship race in 2020.

The poll, the second major election to be conducted since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, was preceded by a dramatic campaign featuring 17 political parties and their candidates before about 11 of them pulled out of the race in favour of other candidates.

Ondo Poll: Jegede Congratulates Akeredolu, Thanks Supporters After Supreme Court Defeat

Candidate of the PDP for the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, spoke to reporters on September 5, 2020.
Candidate of the PDP for the 2020 Ondo Governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, spoke to reporters on September 5, 2020.

 

Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated Governor Rotimi Akeredolu following the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Ondo State governorship election.

Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and PDP’s candidate in the election, made the gesture on Wednesday despite his loss to the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate at the apex court.

“Now that we have explored the grievance procedure permitted by the constitution and the law, it is time to give glory to God,” he said in a statement personally signed by him.

The senior advocate added, “With this outcome, our respect and reverence for the judiciary and our justices of the supreme court has not diminished.”

He also thanked the legal team, led by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), for their commitment, industry, and dedication to the cause, as well as for their sacrifice.

Jegede commended the people of Ondo for their steadfastness, saying the decision to approach the apex court was for service and the collective interest of the majority of the people.

“The outcome of today’s judgement should not deter good and well-meaning individuals from aspiring for leadership in our state and in our country. For all our people who have stood strong, we salute you.

“We thank the national and state leadership and the generality of the members of PDP for providing us with great support. For our governors who provided the required leadership and kept faith with our aspiration, gratitude, history will judge you right,” said the PDP candidate.

 

Jegede and his party had asked the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital to sack Akeredolu, saying his nomination form was signed by a sitting governor, Mai Mala Buni (of Yobe State), who doubled as the Acting National Chairman of the APC.

The appeal was filed in line with the constitutional provision that forbade a sitting governor from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

But the appellate court struck out the appeal for lack of merit – a decision which made the appellants seek redress in at the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, a seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court had upheld the re-election of Governor Akeredolu in a majority judgement of four against three.

The three justices disagreed with the majority judgement, stressing that Akeredolu’s candidacy in the October 10, 2020 poll was a nullity.

They held that the appeal filed by the appellants had merit and ought not to be struck out by the appellate court.

Governor Akeredolu polled 292,830 votes to defeat Jegede who scored 195,791 votes, and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) who came third in the election with 69,127 votes.

It was the second time the governor would defeat his PDP rival candidate.