A Federal High Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, has ordered Bode Ayorinde, the lawmaker representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency in Ondo State, to desist from parading himself as a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the February 2019 general election.
The court also asked the PDP to remove Ayorinde’s name from the list of its candidates contesting in the general election.
It, however, instructed that Sodiq Obanoyen's name be sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the PDP candidate for Owo/Ose Federal Constituency.
Obanoyen was said to have won the House of Representatives primaries of Owo/Ose Federal Constituency with 107 votes against Ayorinde, who polled 73 votes in the election conducted in October 2018.
SaharaReporters learnt that crisis started when the PDP officials at its national secretariat sent Ayorinde's name as the main candidate of the party for Owo/Ose Federal Constituency and was published last week by INEC.
However, not too satisfied with the development, Obanoyen challenged the action of the party at the Federal High Court sitting in Akure. The suit had the PDP, the Chairman of the Ondo State PDP, Clement Faboyede, Ayorinde and INEC as the first, second, third and fourth defendants, respectively.
Tolu Babaleye, counsel to the third defendant (Ayorinde) in one of his prayers asked the court to uphold the disqualification of the plaintiff. Babaleye premised his prayer on the ground that the Obanoyen did not resign his appointment as a legislative aide to the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekeremadu, before obtaining the form to contest; the action was said to be against the party’s election guidelines.
The plaintiff’s legal team, led by Remi Olatubora, however, presented evidence that showed the appropriate resignation of its client.
In his ruling, Justice Abdul Dogo struck out the prayers of the first and third defendants for lack of merit.
Dogo, however, held that the plaintiff duly tendered his resignation letter before obtaining form and thereby qualified to contest the election.
“The first defendant (PDP) is hereby ordered to forward the name of the plaintiff to the fourth defendant as the candidate of the first defendant in the election. The third defendant (Ayorinde) is hereby restrained from parading himself as the candidate of the first defendant (PDP) in the election. The fourth defendant (INEC) is hereby restrained from recognising the third defendant as the candidate of the first defendant in the election,” the judge said.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Olatubora, commended the court, noting that the judgment confirmed that the judiciary was still working in the country.
Babaleye, Counsel to Ayorinde, said he would need to consult his client to determine the next line of action on the matter.