AN Abeokuta Federal High Court, sitting before Justice Joyce Obehi Malik, on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 dismissed the suit filed by All Progressives Congress, (APC) against the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) and three others in suit number, FHC/AB/CS/149/2022 brought to challenge the candidacy of Hon Ladi Adebutu, the PDP governorship candidate for Ogun State and his running mate, Hon Adekunle Akinlade and their party, the PDP, over their qualification to contest the 2023 governorship election in the state for alleged double nominations.
The court also awarded a total of N6 million cost to Adebutu, Akinlade and the PDP.
The defence team for Adebutu, Akinlade and the PDP, was led by the erudite advocate, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
Other members of the team included: Prof Amuda-Kannike, SAN, Chief Emeka Okpoko, SAN, Isiaka Olagunju, SAN, Kadiri Asamah, SAN, Clement Onwuenwunor, SAN, and a host of other lawyers.
Mr. Wale Habeeb Ajayi, Esq, was counsel for the Plaintiff, the APC.
Chief Ozekhome during the proceedings had urged the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety, notwithstanding the belated notice of discontinuance hurriedly filed by the APC only this morning ‘when it very well knew it had lost the case on its merit’.
He argued that the case had come up on four different occasions for argument after issues had been properly joined by all parties and arguments had indeed commenced only yesterday, before the APC, ‘sensing its imminent defeat, suddenly threw in the towel belatedly by filing a notice of discontinuance just this morning, the second day of hearing and argument’.
Citing several appellate court decisions, including amongst others, ZOAKA V. BUBA & ANOR (2020), OGBU V. NNAMCHI & ANOR (2014), ERONINI V. IHEUKO (1989), and EZOMO V. AG, BENDEL STATE (1986), Ozekhome urged Justice Malik to dismiss the suit in its entirety and award heavy cost of N3million against the APC in favour of Adebutu so as to prevent the APC from ever coming back through the back door to file a similar frivolous suit.
Mr. Habeeb conceded to the order of dismissal as being the proper order to make, but conceded only 1m as cost. The court wholly agreed with Chief Ozekhome and Kannike’ s submissions that the proper order to make in the circumstances of the case was one of outright dismissal and not one of merely striking out the case.
She accordingly dismissed the case and awarded N6 million cost in favour of the defendants(N2 million apiece) to Hon Ladi Adebutu (the PDP’s governorship candidate for Ogun State), his running mate, Hon Adekunle Akinlade, and the PDP.
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