APC ask Appeal Court to affirm Gov Oyetola, Deputy as candidates in July 6 election

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The All Progressives Congress, APC, has asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the decision of a Federal High Court and affirm the nomination of Governor Isiaka Oyetola of Osun  and his deputy Bendict Alabi as the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s candidate in the July 16 governorship election.
Besides, the ruling party has equally prayed the Abuja division of the appellate court for an order staying execution of the judgment pending the hearing and determination of its appeal.
The appellant said it is in the interest of justice that the 2nd defendant’s right to fair hearing be preserved pending the determination of the appeal.
That the application to maintain status quo pending the determination of the applicant’s appeal is paramount and inevitable as the grounds of appeal raise iaaues of substantial points of law with a high possibility of success on the appeal.
Justice Nwite in a judgment, nullified Oyetola and his deputy governorship candidate, Benedict Alabi, on grounds  that Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, who submitted their names to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The court also held that Buni acted in contravention of the provision of Section 183 of the Constitution when he held dual executive positions as the Governor of Yobe and the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of APC.
The court said that the decisions taken by Governor Buni, including forwarding the names of Oyetola and Alabi to INEC, amounted to a nullity in law.
Justice Nwite’s judgment was subject of a suit  marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/468/2022, filed by the Peoples Democratic Party against Governor Mai Mala Buni, Governor Isiaka Oyetola, his deputy, Benedict Alabi and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But in a notice of appeal dated October 4, 2023, the APC challenged the entire judgment of the trial court and urged the Court of Appeal to set it aside and allow its appeal.
The APC in its notice of appeal filed its counsel, Dr. Abiodun Layonu, SAN, and Abdulfatai Oyedele argued that the Peoples Democratic Party which brought the action, lacked the requisite locus standi to have instituted the suit.
According to the appellant, “by the provision of section 84(14) of the Electoral Act, 2022, it is only an aspirant who participated in the primary election that can complain that the provision of the Act and the guidelines of the political party have not been complied with in the selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for an election.
It stressed that by section 284 (14) (1) of the 1999 constitution, only empowers a political party to challenge the action of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, where the commission fails to comply with the provision of the Act in respect of nomination of its candidates.
The appellant therefore urged the court set aside the judgment of the trial court because the plaintiff (PDP) lacked the locus standi to bring any cause of action that relates to the internal affairs of the appellant.
That the findings of the trial court that INEC ought not have accepted the nomination of its candidates is erroneous, perverse and occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.
It further contended that the originating summons, affidavit in support, and reliefs sought by the plaintiff (PDP), are all completely centred on the internal affairs of the appellant, and the law is trite that issues strictly on the internal affairs of a political party are not justiciable in a court of law.
That the trial court erred in law when it held that the plaintiff’s (PDP) cause of action does not relate to internal affairs of the appellant and as such justiciable.
That the trial court erred in law in its decision that the 1st respondent’s (PDP), suit is not caught by the doctrine of issue estoppel is perverse and has occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
It equally contended that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the suit as the action was statute barred because the act complained by the 1st respondents (PDP), came into existence on or before March 18, 2022 and not March 25, 2022.
APC argued that the court decision that the cause of action arose on March 25, 2023 to hold that the suit was not statute barred was perverse and occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
That the trial court erred in law when it held that INEC ought not have accepted the nomination of Governor Oyetola and his deputy, Alabi, and thereafter disqualified them from participating in the Osun State Governorship election.
APC equally contended that the trial court’s reliance on section 82 (3) 84 (13) and 29 of the Electoral Act, 2022, to disqualify its candidates was erroneous and peverse and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
That it did not admit anywhere that the members of the defunct Caretaker Committee/Extra-Ordinary Planning Committee(CCEPC) coordinated the primary that produced the 3rd and 4th respondents as the appellant Governorship candidates and no such issue was raised by the PDP.

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