The Supreme Court, in a split judgment of four-to-three, on Wednesday upheld the victory of Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Oct. 10, 2020 governorship election in Ondo State.
In the majority judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, four of the seven judges on the panel dismissed the appeal by Eyitayo Jegede and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the grounds that it was incompetent.
Agim upheld an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal in a suit filed by Jegede and his party, which was earlier dismissed as incompetent, having failed to include Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, who is also the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee, as a party.
But in the minority judgment read by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the court upheld the appeal and dismissed the cross appeal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Akeredolu and APC.
Odili and two other members of the panel were of the view that since the APC, for which Buni acted, was a party in the case, there was no need to include him as a party.
The main appeal was filed by Jegede, the governorship candidate of PDP, challenging the competence of APC’s presentation of Akeredolu for the election.
Jegede had approached the elections petitions tribunal, praying that the declaration of Akeredolu as the winner of the election by INEC should be set aside.
He also prayed the apex court to declare him winner on the grounds that the emergence of the APC candidate breached the nation’s constitution.
On June 16, 2020, the Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua-led Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure, had dismissed the PDP’s candidate’s petition, upholding the result of the election that declared Akeredolu the winner.