The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu as Governor of Ondo State.
The majority decision delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, upheld Akeredolu’s election on the grounds that the appeal by Olutayo Jegede and the People’s Democratic Party lacked merit since the appellants failed to include Yobe State Governor and chairman caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress, Mai Mala Buni, a party in the suit.
The majority decision agreed with the decision of the tribunal that failure of the appellants to include Buni was fatal to their case.
However, the minority judgment led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, held that since APC was the principal and was made a party, there was no need to join Buni in the suit.
The majority decision said it was the position of the law that Buni being a sitting Governor cannot be acting Chairman of the APC and was therefore wrong to have submitted the name of Akeredolu to INEC as candidate of the APC.
Governor Akeredolu has commended the judiciary for upholding his victory in the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state.
The Supreme Court affirmed Akeredolu’s victory on Wednesday, striking out the suit filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede, for lacking in merit.
Reacting to the verdict at the Government House in Akure, the Ondo governor said the judiciary stood for the truth and did not yield to any influence.
“I have every reason to thank God and to appreciate our judiciary for standing by the truth and for not yielding to any influence. I believe that we can still be proud of our judiciary in this country,” he said.
“I just heard the news of the final decision of the final court on the election petition filed by my brother, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN. The supreme dismissed his appeal on a 4-3 basis and that in essence is that from the Tribunal up to the Supreme Court.
“The justices have affirmed that the petition was most frivolous. As you know 12 Justices have affirmed in our favour and only three supported that petition, three at the Tribunal, five at the Court of Appeal, and four at the Supreme Court.”
Akeredolu was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the October 10, 2020, Governorship election in Ondo State.
The PDP and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede had earlier approached the appeal court to challenge the candidacy of Akeredolu, insisting that his nomination form was signed by a sitting Governor Mai Buni who doubles as the Acting National Chairman of the party.
The appeal was based on the constitutional provision which forbids sitting Governors from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.