Biodun Oyebanji, Ekiti State governor-elect has been affirmed by a federal high court in Ado-Ekiti as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the state governorship election.
Oyebanji, former secretary to the state government (SSG), defeated other contenders to emerge winner of the APC primary election held on January 27, 2022.
He polled 101,703 votes, while his challengers; Ojo Kayode had 767, Opeyemi Bamidele had 760, and Dayo Adeyeye polled 691 votes.
He went on to win the governorship election.
He secured 187,057 votes to defeat Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who polled 82,211 votes, and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 67,457 votes.
Aggrieved by the outcome of the primary election, Ojo instituted a suit challenging Oyebanji’s nomination.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/C5/15/2022 earlier filed in Abuja division of the court which was later transferred to Ado-Ekiti division, Ojo asked the court to declare him as the valid candidate of the APC.
Alternatively, he asked the court to nullify the primary election held in January.
Other defendants in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ayo Adegbete, Stephen Aribasoye, Vincent Bewaji, Goke Olajide, Lateef Akanle and Richard Apolola.
Others are Kayode Fasakin, Adu Joseph Teju Okunyiga, Olumide Fadipe, Dele Oloje, Victor Adebiyi, Folorunso Olabode, Deji Ajayi Sunkanmi Onipede, Kemi Olaleye and Secretary and members of Ekiti governorship primary election committee.
Delivering judgment on Thursday, Babs Kuewumi, the judge, upheld the preliminary objections by the APC and struck out the suit.
He held that since the maker of the signature on the writ of summons and the plaintiff’s statement of claims cannot be ascertained, the irregularities made the process defective.
The judge added that since the preliminary objection had been upheld any process on the suit will amount to an academic exercise.
“I am in agreement that the statement of claims by the plaintiff is incurably bad, as argued by the first defence counsel,” the judge said.
“I uphold the preliminary objection of the first defendant and I strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.”
Titilayo Soje, the first defendant’s counsel, in preliminary objections argued that the plaintiff’s statement of claims was signed by an unverified counsel.
Soje argued that none of the four counsel, whose names appeared on the writ of summons and plaintiff’s statement of claims, was neither listed for the case nor the signature appended on the process linked directly to any of the counsel.