The Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a suit filed by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Smart Adeyemi against the emergence of Usman Ododo as the party’s candidate at the last primary election.
In the suit marked: FHC/CS/556/2023 in Smart Adeyemi v. APC & 2 Ors, the plaintiffs urged the court to nullify the primary of the APC for Kogi governorship election which produced Ododo as the candidate for the election scheduled for November.
They described the direct primary election conducted by APC which produced Ododo as the governorship candidate of the party as illegal. Amongst others, they alleged that the election of Ododo ran foul of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution.
They also asked the court for an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission to reject and refuse to recognise Ododo as APC’s governorship candidate.
Delivering judgment, Justice James Omotosho held that the suit lacked merit and substance. More so, the court held that Adeyemi’s allegations were criminal in nature as he alleged that elections did not hold and that the produced results were forged. He said the applicant needed to prove the allegations of forgery, and falsification of results, beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to the court, Senator Adeyemi had the burden of proof to produce the forged result or both the original and the forged results, and failure to discharge the burden “is fatal to the case of the applicant.”
Justice Omotosho also held that the allegation that the election did not hold was also not substantiated as the applicant only provided evidence from his Ward in Ijumu LGA.
He said, in any case, the evidence was denied by the respondents who attached the monitoring reports of the electoral commission.
“In this case, INEC attached its monitoring report and also attached copies of the result, police report confirming the conduct of the election signed by the Commissioner of Police, the case of the Applicant has no basis.”
He said, “In the final analysis, having reviewed all the evidence in this matter, I have no doubt that the APC primary election result was held in all the wards of Kogi State on the 14th day of April 2023.”
“This Honourable Court will not allow the will of a few just like that of the applicant to override the will of the majority. The applicant’s case has no merit. It is hereby dismissed.”
Consequently, the Justice dismissed the case for lack of merit.