By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA–The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Friday, vacated the Federal High Court judgment that was in favour of a factional governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ogun State, Oladipupo Adebutu.
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of Justices, ordered the re-hearing of the suit that was filed by an aggrieved aspirant of the party, Jimi Adebisi Lawal.
It held that Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja was wrong to have declined jurisdiction to entertain Lawal’s case.
Lawal had approached the high court to challenge the delegates list that was used in the conduct of the governorship primary election the PDP held in the state on May 25, 2022.
He contended that the list was not in tandem with names of delegates he said were democratically elected at the ward congresses.
Meanwhile, in its judgement that was read on Friday by Justice Biobele Georgewill, the Court of Appeal held that what Lawal raised in his suit was a pre-election matter which it said the Federal High Court has the requisite jurisdiction to entertain.
Consequently, the appellate court made an order, remitting the casefile back to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for the matter to be heard on its merit.
The appellate court further noted that the statutory 180 days for hearing of the case, being a pre-election matter, had yet to elapse.
It, therefore, ordered that the matter should be re-assigned to another judge of the high court for fresh hearing.
Other members of the appellate court panel that concurred with the lead judgement, were Justices M. Mustapha and Danlami Senchi.