APC Gov’ship Primary: Supreme Court Dismisses Adeyemi’s Appeal Against Ododo

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The Supreme Court, on Monday, dismissed an appeal filed by Senator Smart Adeyemi against the judgements of the two lower courts on the All Progressives Congress’ primary election, which held in Kogi State on April 15, 2023.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgement, held that the appeal lacked merit, having failed to challenge the concurrent findings of both the High and Appeal Courts, or demonstrate that same were perverse.

The Apex Court also held that the two issues raised in the Appellant’s brief were unreasonable, vexatious, not triable and against the provisions of Section 132 and 133(1) of the Evidence Act 2011.

Adeyemi, who represented Kogi West Senatorial District in the 9th Assembly, had filed a suit at the Federal High Court seeking to nullify the primary election of the APC, which produced Usman Ododo as the party’s flagbearer for the state’s governorship election slated for November 11. The case was dismissed by both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal for lacking in merit.

The apex court, while delivering judgment on Monday, first struck out the appellant’s first notice of Appeal, the Appellant having relied on the 2nd Notice of Appeal filed and held that the power of the Apex Court in respect of appeals against concurrent findings of the two lower Courts could only be exercised when the findings were alleged to be perverse.

The Court also described as contemptuous, the practice of parties appearing on television stations to discuss pending appeals, saying, “You go saying on television that if the court is a court of justice, the appeal should go in your favour.”

“The court frowns at this practice. Once you’ve engaged a lawyer, go and rest. I am giving this elaborate talk so that you don’t go out and say things that are not reasonable. The Court is manned by reasonable persons,” Justice E. A Agim, who delivered the Supreme Court’s Judgement, said.

The Apex Court said, “There is nothing on the Notice of Appeal of the Appellant showing a challenge as to the perverseness of the findings of the two lower courts.

“The Appellant never alleged that there was no evidence to support the findings of the two lower Courts. This Court has no power to revisit those issues of facts raised in the Notice of Appeal unless there is an allegation that the findings were perverse.”

“On the whole, this appeal fails. The Appellant shall pay the cost of N1 million each to the 1st and 3rd Respondents (the governorship candidate and the APC),” the Supreme Court ruled.

Dapo Otitoju represented the Appellant; Abdulwahab Muhammed, SAN, represented the APC,
Umar Abdulhamid represented the 2nd Respondent, and M. Y Abdullahi, SAN, the 3rd Respondent.

The Court of Appeal had, on August 18, 2023, held that the appeal argued by Adekunle Oladapo Otitoju on behalf of Senator Adeyemi was completely bereft of merit.

In a unanimous judgment of a 3-man panel of Justices of the Court, Adeyemi was said to have failed woefully to establish all grievous criminal allegations made against the conduct of the primary election by APC and its leaders.

Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaib who delivered the lead judgment resolved all the three issues in dispute against Adeyemi.

Justice Shuaib said that the allegations of manipulations and falsifications of the primary election results made by Adeyemi, being criminal in nature, ought to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.

He also dismissed another allegation by the Appellant that he was denied fair hearing by the Appeal Committee of the APC based on his petition against the alleged unlawful conduct of the primary election.

Justice Shuaib said that the issue of denial of fair hearing was not raised in his originating summons at the Federal High Court, hence, could not be raised as a fresh issue at the Court of Appeal.

In the absence of cogent and verifiable evidence on the part of Adeyemi, the Court of Appeal held that his allegations remained mere assertions that could not enjoy any probative value.

The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered on July 12, which had held that Adeyemi did not prove his allegations that Ododo was not lawfully nominated by the APC.

Senator Adeyemi had, therefore, sought an order of the Supreme Court, setting aside the judgments of the lower courts, allowing his appeal and granting all the reliefs sought in his originating summons.

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