Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

Ondo Senator kicks over delay in court’s judgment

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Nicholas Tofowomo, the Senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District, has faulted the alleged delay in delivering the judgment on his case against a former deputy governor of the state, Mr Agboola Ajayi, over the outcome of the senatorial primary of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Ajayi was declared winner of the primary, held in May this year, at Okitipupa, the headquarters of the Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state.

Tofowomo, who was not satisfied with the outcome of the primary, had approached the Federal High Court, through his lawyer, Mr Femi Emodamori, seeking the disqualification of Ajayi, on the grounds of alleged faulty academic qualifications.

Apart from Ajayi, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission were also joined as defendants in the suit.

The senator alleged that Ajayi did not meet the constitutional requirements for contesting the 2023 general election as contained in the interpretation and application of Section 66(1)(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 29(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as other relevant laws.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Emodamori, in a letter dated October 12, 2022, and addressed to the Station Registrar of the Federal High Court, Akure Judicial Division, said the court had not communicated parties for the judgment date even though it has till 19th of this month under the constitution to deliver its verdict.

The letter read, “The suit is a pre-election matter relating to the candidacy of the Peoples Democratic Party for Ondo South Senatorial District.

“It was commenced by originating summons, and parties adopted their respective written addresses at the hearing of the case on July 19, 2022, after his Lordship, Hon. Justice R. M Aikawa tentatively adjourned the case till August 30, 2022, for judgment.

“However, up until now, no date has been communicated to the parties for the judgment. By Section 294 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), every court is expected to deliver its judgment in writing not later than ninety days after the conclusion of the evidence and final addresses by the parties. The ninety days period in the instant case would expire on or about October 19, 2022.

“Apart from the above constitutional provision and the understandably huge public interest in the case, it is most desirable for all the parties to know the outcome of the case promptly, for them to effectively prepare and execute their political campaign plans for the Ondo South Senatorial District.

“Consequently, we hereby respectfully request that you kindly bring this letter to the attention of his Noble Lordship, Hon. Justice R.M Aikawa, for necessary action.”

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