Ekiti Governorship: In Court, APC Aspirant Seeks Party’s Ticket, Oyebanji’s Removal

Mr Ojo challenged what he termed “gross irregularities” during the APC gubernatorial primary election of the party.

A governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2022 election in Ekiti State, Kayode Ojo, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare that he is the rightful candidate of the party in the election.

Biodun Oyebanji was declared the winner of the June 18 governorship election after defeating his major opponent and candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Segun Oni.

He had since received the Certificate of Return as the governor-elect of Ekiti State.Mr Oyebanji was elected candidate of the party in the January 27 primaries in Ado Ekiti ahead of Mr Ojo, who came second during the exercise.Mr Ojo is, however, in court to challenge the result of the primaries, saying he was the duly elected candidate of the party.

In a suit number FHC/ABJ/C5/15/2022, and filed by his Counsel, Olaniyan Bolanle, Mr Ojo challenged what he termed “gross irregularities” during the APC gubernatorial primary election of the party.

Joined in the suit are APC, Ekiti, Biodun Oyebanji, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and all the chairmen of the local governments’ election committee/returning officers, who are known supporters of the second defendants, but were constituted to conduct the primary.

In his prayers, Mr Ojo questioned the decision of the party to conduct the primary election with the use of political appointees of the state executive as electoral committee/ returning officers.

He said it constituted an irregularity and fundamental non-compliance with the party guidelines regulating the conduct of the said party primaries, the Electoral Act.

He equally prayed the court to set aside the party gubernatorial primary conducted on January 27 on the grounds of the constitutional infraction and flagrant infringement on guidelines and the 1999 constitution and ordering the conduct of a fresh primary by the party.

Another prayer by the plaintiff is the cancellation of the votes irregularly and fraudulently recorded for Mr Oyebanji during the primary on the ground that the governor-elect had run foul of the provisions of the APC constitution and the guidelines regulating the conduct of the party primaries.

He urged the court to declare him (Kayode Ojo) as the winner of the primary being the candidate with the next highest declared votes.

The plaintiff also sought an order of injunction restraining the INEC from recognising Mr Oyebanji as the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the 2022 Ekiti State gubernatorial election and restraining him or any other persons or authorities or government as the candidate for the APC for the Ekiti State gubernatorial election conducted in June 2022.

The case, was, however, transferred to a federal high court in Ado-Ekiti before Justice Babs Kuewunmi.

While being led in evidence by the lead counsel, Alex Izinyon, on Friday, the plaintiff along with one other witness gave their testimony and was cross-examined by the defence.

Although he had closed his case, the proceedings suffered a hitch as the defence failed to open its case due to lack of preparation.

The defence counsel, Kareem Akingbolu, in the circumstance applied for an extension of time for him to file his defence.

Mr Izinyon told the court that he was opposed to the application by the defence for an extension.

He argued that since the order of the court to publish the writ of summons was carried out on March 21, the defence ought to have filed their reply within 30 days which lapsed on April 21.

Mr Izinyon asked for a leave of the court to reply formally to the application made by the defence for an extension of time.

The case was then adjourned till July 25 for the continuation of the trial.

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