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Court fixes Feb 11 for judgement on Osun PDP West Senatorial ticket tussle

Kazeem Badmus,osogbo

A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun State has fixed Feb 11 for judgement in suit bothering on Osun West Senatorial ticket of the Peoples' Democratic Party after hearing the originating summon and a number of preliminary objections as well as written addresses from counsels of the parties in the suit.

The case was Instituted by a chieftain of the party, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, against Akogun Lere Oyewumi, the senatorial candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Prior to the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the defendants through their counsels filed preliminary objections and written addresses in response to the originating summon and adopted their legal argument against the suit which seek to return Ogunbiyi as the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.

In his oral submission, Akogun Lere's counsel, Barrister Dosu Babatunde challenged the court's jurisdiction to hear the suit saying that it's a party affair and prayed the court to dismiss the suit, for want of competence.

The presiding judge, Honourable Justice Peter Lifu declared that the court would not tolerate unnecessary technicalities.

Then, Barr. Dosu argued further that the senatorial primary election was held on 6th of October last year and that Ogunbiyi did not participate and failed to explore internal mechanism of the party before rushing to the court to institute the case.

Ademola Adeleke's counsel Barr. Iyiola Akintola and Barr. Toafeek Tewogbade who represented the party respectively aligned with the submission of Barr. Dosu and also asked the court to dismiss the suit. Barr. Dosu told the court that there was no complain about the outcome of the primary election.

Disagreeing, however, Ogunbiyi's counsel, Barr. Abeni Muhammed, SAN declared that Ogunbiyi was unlawfully excluded from the purported primary election in view of an existing Memorandum of Understanding, the basis of which he was returned by the panel set up by the party.

He added that the claimant immediately wrote a protest letter to the party on the purported primary election held on 6th of October when he was out of the state and on a national assignment for the same party. He attached the letter which was marked exhibit A012, a copy of the petition submitted to the party was also present as evidence that Dr Ogunbiyi explored internal mechanism of the party in seeking redress before preceding to the court.

He declared that the exhibit met the requirement stipulated by the party constitution in respect of the case and that Ogunbiyi also had several meetings with the national leadership of the party on the same issue on 31st of October, 7th of November, 14th of November, 2018 before he approached the court for redress thereby meeting the last date for which the issue could be addressed internally, in line with provisions of the Electoral Act.

He backed his argument with a written address, 12 exhibits and cited several authorities to defend his position that the court has jurisdiction to determine the suit and justice should be done to the case.

He alerted the court that INEC's counter affidavit which was presented to the court through its counsel, Barr. Vimba Kintai was filed out of time and without the leave of the court. He urged the court to nullify the affidavit.

Afterwards, Justice Peter Lifu fixed Feb 11 for judgement on the suit.

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