A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, dismissed a suit challenging Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s emergence as the All Progressive Congress governorship candidate for the Osun gubernatorial election holding on July 16.
A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, Alhaji Moshood Olalekan Adeoti had sued the APC, Oyetola and the Independent National Electoral Commission, accusing the governor of unlawfully contesting the primaries while holding position as member of the Caretaker Extraordinary and Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
Adeoti, who was one of the aspirants in the party, argued that the APC violated Section 22(2) of the 1999 Constitution(as amended) and Article 31(iii) of the APC, October 2014 (as amended), by allowing Oyetola to run while being a member of the committee.
The plaintiff, through his counsel, Chiesonu Okpoko SAN, contended that Oyetola should have resigned from that committee, 30 days before the primary election on February 19.
But the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission had entered preliminary objections on many grounds.
APC argued that the plaintiff’s originating process was incompetent because there was no law backing it.
The APC said that the court lacked jurisdiction to determine the suit as it is a matter of the internal affairs of the party.
Reading his judgement on Thursday, Justice Inyang Ekwo agreed with the APC that the committee is an adhoc arrangement within the party and does not amount to a constitutional office.
“The committee is an internal affairs of the APC and the court cannot interfere.
“The argument of the first defendant succeeds and I so hold,” the Judge said.
Regarding whether the suit was a pre-election matter, the judge held that the plaintiff’s suit would have made sense if he had challenged the status of the committee vis-a-vis the constitution, and not to challenge a political party were he contested and scored votes.
Ekwo further held that a political party party has power to amend its own constitution.
“I hereby decline jurisdiction in the internal affairs of a political party. Where a member is disatisfied with the party’s decision, the only option is for such person to leave.
“The plaintiff has shown no cause of action in the case and I so hold,” Ekwo said.
Ekwo also held that Adeoti, who was also an aspirant in the February 19 APC’s primary poll, in his application, also admitted that he did not exhaust the party’s internal mechanism before filing the suit.
Consequently, the judge dismissed the suit in its entirety for being an abuse of court process.