Oladipupo Adebutu has been affirmed as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun state by a federal high court in Abuja.
Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, issued the ruling on Thursday while delivering judgment in a suit filed by Jimi Lawal, a governorship aspirant in the state.
Ekwo described Lawal as a “spoiler”, having joined the PDP in March 2022 from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and participated in the governorship primary held in May.
The court also held that the delegate list, which Lawal challenged, was approved by the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
THE BACK STORY
Two factions of the PDP had conducted parallel primaries that produced Adebutu and Segun Sowunmi as candidates of the party for the 2023 governorship election.
The primary which produced Sowunmi was said to have been monitored by officials of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC).
However, the primary which produced Adebutu, a former member of the house of representatives, is recognised by the national leadership of the PDP.
Lawal had filed a suit to contest the delegate list used by the Sikirulahi Ogundele faction during the primary that produced Adebutu.
Other candidates had also approached the court to challenge the authenticity of the Ogundele-led executive of the party in the state.
Taiwo Taiwo, a judge at the federal high court, had declined to hear Lawal’s suit
But on September 30, a three-member panel of the court of appeal held that the federal high court judge (now retired) was wrong to have declined jurisdiction to entertain Lawal’s suit.
On November 21, the supreme court dismissed an appeal brought before it by a PDP faction seeking to affirm Adebutu as the governorship candidate
In a unanimous judgment delivered by a five-member panel, the apex court held that the Abuja federal high court was wrong to have declined jurisdiction to hear the suit brought before it by Lawal.
Consequently, the apex directed the case to be returned to the federal high court for retrial.