The Court of Appeal in Abuja has set aside the judgement by a High Court which voided the eligibility of Senator Ademola Adeleke in the last Osun State governorship election.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke had earlier approached the Court of Appeal challenging the April 2, 2019 judgment by Justice Othman Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Bwari, which voided Adeleke’s candidacy for the election on the grounds that he was not qualified, having not possessed a valid secondary school certificate.
However, in a unanimous judgment of the appeal court delivered by Justice Peter Agim on Thursday, the appellate court set aside the judgment of the lower court.
Justice Agim held that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to have entertained the suit in the first place because it was filed outside the 14 days envisaged by the law to file a pre-election suit.
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Justice Agim said another reason why the judgment of the lower court is a nullity is because the judgment was delivered 209 days after the course of action was filed is outside the 180 days envisaged by law for a judgment in a pre-election matter to be written and delivered.
The appellate court also held that Justice Othman lacked territorial integrity to have heard the suit in the first place because a high court in the FCT cannot seat over a pre-election matter that has to do with the governorship election in Osun State.
The court also held that it was a gross miscarriage of the appellant’s right to fair hearing for the lower court not to have considered all the documents and facts placed before it before reaching a decision that the lawmaker falsified his educational qualifications.
The court also held that it is curious that the lower court abandoned the evidence it asked for from WAEC and not considering the said documents. This is a wrong approach.
Justice Agim, in conclusion, said the appeal succeeds and is upheld. He set aside the judgment of the lower court delivered by Justice Othman.
The first and second respondent was also ordered by the court to pay N3million to Senator Adeleke as cost.