The Supreme Court on Thursday in Abuja fixed October 3 for final judgment in a suit filed by Senator Smart Afolabi Adeyemi challenging the conduct of the April 14, 2023, primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Kogi State governorship election Adeyemi is challenging the validity of the primary election, which produced Ahmed Usman Ododo as APC’s flagbearer for the November 11 governorship election. The grouse of the appellant is that the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the guidelines of the APC were compromised during the primary election. Specifically, Adeyemi, who recently represented Kogi West Senatorial District in the Senate, is claiming that the result brought out by APC in support of Ododo was fraudulent and invalid on the ground that the primary election was conducted in only 11 out of 239 wards in the state. A Federal High Court in Abuja and the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal had, however, delivered judgments against him on the ground that the allegations of malpractices were not proved as required by law, promoting him to go to the Supreme Court. At Thursday’s hearing of the Appeal at the Supreme Court, Adeyemi’s lawyer Musibawu Adedtunmbi, SAN, after adopting his briefs prayed the Apex Court to grant the reliefs sought by Adeyemi. The Senior lawyer argued that the primary election of April 14 was conducted in gross violation of section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022. The senior lawyer claimed that the Election did not hold in 228 wards and that the claim was supported by INEC’s field officers in their report on the primary election. However, the APC, represented by AbdulWahab Mohammed, prayed the Supreme Court panel headed by Justice John Inyang Okoro to dismiss Adeyemi’s appeal on the ground that it is against the concurrent findings of fact by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. On its part, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) represented by Adeyemi Adeniyi SAN, after adopting his briefs, told the Apex Court panel that the appeal was grossly incompetent and that the decision of the two lower courts should be affirmed because there was no allegation of perversion of justice in the decisions of the two lower courts. Similarly, the third respondent, Usman Ahmed Ododo, through his counsel, Francis Ekpa, asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal on the ground that it has become academic, adding that the 180 days within which APC can conduct another primary election for nomination of the candidate has since lapsed. Justice Okoro, after taking arguments from the parties, announced that the final judgment would be delivered on October 3.
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