In a landmark decision, the Federal High Court has officially confirmed Barrister Adejoh Okeme as the legitimate gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party in Kogi State. This ruling, delivered on September 7, 2023, by the Honourable Presiding Judge, Justice Obiora. A. Egwuatu brings an end to a prolonged and closely watched legal battle that had raised questions about the party’s leadership and the candidacy of Barr. Adejoh Okeme.
The dispute stemmed from parallel primary elections held by factions within the Labour Party. The Alhaji Basiru Lamidi Apapa’s faction conducted a separate primary election, resulting in Col. (Dr) Vincent Enemona Abu (Rtd) emerging as their purported gubernatorial candidate. This faction contended that Barrister Julius Abure was not qualified to oversee the primaries and, consequently, that Barrister Adejoh Okeme’s candidacy was invalid.
The matter was brought before the Federal High Court, Abuja, in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/598/2023, with Col. (Dr) Vincent Enemona Abu (Rtd) as the plaintiff and defendants including the Independent National Electoral Commission, Labour Party, and Adejoh Okeme. Barrister Ataguba Aboje, Esq, represented the Labour Party and Barrister Adejoh Okeme.
After a meticulous review of the evidence and arguments presented by both parties, the Honourable Presiding Judge, Justice Obiora. A. Egwuatu delivered a considered
judgment upholding the chairmanship of Barrister Julius Abure and affirming that Alhaji Basiru Lamidi Apapa had been suspended by the party and was not the rightful chairman. Crucially, the judgment validated Barrister Adejoh Okeme’s candidacy as the genuine gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party in Kogi State.
In a candid telephone conversation with the lead counsel for Okeme and Labour Party, Barrister Ataguba Aboje, Esq, shared his thoughts on the outcome of the judgment, emphasizing the significance of the Federal High Court’s judgment. He stated, ” The Federal High Court’s decision is a momentous affirmation of the rule of law, signifying the Labour Party’s unwavering commitment to internal democracy.”
Aboje continued, “This landmark judgment not only reaffirms Julius Abure as the rightful National Chairman but also provides a much-needed clarification regarding the party’s leadership structure. Importantly, it solidifies Barrister Adejoh Okeme’s legitimate candidacy for the gubernatorial race in Kogi State.”
He then shifted focus to the upcoming elections, stating, “With this legal clarity in place, we eagerly anticipate a fair and fiercely competitive electoral process in Kogi State. It is our firm belief that the citizens of Kogi State will have the opportunity to make their voices heard and exercise their democratic right to choose their next leader based on merit and a shared vision for a brighter future.”
This legal victory for Barrister Adejoh Okeme and the Labour Party significantly alters the political landscape and calculations for the upcoming Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections in November 2023. Okeme, who had been caught in a contentious battle for the party’s candidacy, now emerges as a formidable contender against the incumbent governor’s anointed successor, Ahmed Usman Ododo.
In a narrative akin to the biblical tale of David and Goliath, Barrister Adejoh Okeme stands as the underdog who has triumphed against the odds, securing his position as the Labour Party’s legitimate choice to lead Kogi State. This ruling sets the stage for a highly anticipated and closely watched gubernatorial election, where the electorate will ultimately decide the future leadership of Kogi State.
As the countdown to the November elections continues, all eyes remain on Kogi State, where the legal verdict has injected a new dimension of competition, presenting voters with a