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Monday, January 28, 2019

Osun West PDP Crisis: Court Fixes Feb. 11 For Judgement

A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, has fixed Feb 11 for judgement in suit bothering on Osun West Senatorial ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, after hearing the originating summon and array of preliminary objections as well as written addresses from counsels of the parties in the suit.

DAILY POST reports that a former governorship aspirant on the platform of the party, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, who later expressed interest in the Osun West senatorial district, after loosing the governorship ticket to Ademola Adeleke had dragged Akogun Lere Oyewumi, who is the senatorial candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the court.

Ogunbiyi was challenging the process that produced Oyewunmi as the senatorial candidate of the party, citing irregularities.

Meanwhile, prior to the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the defendants through their counsels filed preliminary objections and written addresses in response to the originating summon and adopted their legal argument against the suit which, seeks to return Ogunbiyi as the senatorial candidate of PDP.

In his oral submission, Oyewunmi’s counsel, Dosu Babatunde challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit, saying that it’s a party affair and prayed the court to dismiss the suit, for want of competence.

He argued further that the senatorial primary election was held on 6th of October, 2018, and that Ogunbiyi did not participate, and also failed to explore internal mechanism of the party before rushing to court to institute case.

In their separate submissions, Adeleke’s counsel, Iyiola Akintola and counsel to PDP, Toafeek Tewogbade aligned with the submission of Dosu, asking the court to dismiss the suit.

However, Ogunbiyi’s counsel, Abeni Muhammed, SAN, declared that his client was unlawfully excluded from the purported primary election in view of an existing Memorandum of Understanding, the basis of which he was returned by the panel set up by the party.

He added that the claimant immediately wrote a protest letter to the party on the purported primary election held on 6th of October when he was out of the state and on a national assignment for the same party.

Muhammed attached the said letter, which was marked exhibit A012, as well as a copy of the petition submitted to the party as evidence proving that Ogunbiyi explored internal mechanism of the party in seeking redress before proceeding to court.

He declared that the exhibit met the requirement stipulated by the party constitution in respect of the case and that Ogunbiyi also had several meetings with the national leadership of the party on the same issue on 31st of October, 7th of November, 14th of November, 2018 before taking legal action, arguing that he approached the court for redress thereby meeting the last date for which the issue could be addressed internally, in line with provisions of the Electoral Act.

He further informed the court that INEC’s counter affidavit which was presented to the court through its counsel, Barr. Vimba Kintai was filed out of time and without the leave of the court. He urged the court to nullify the affidavit.

The preceding judge, Justice Peter Lifu, after declaring that the court would not tolerate unnecessary technicalities then fixed Feb 11 for judgement on the suit.

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