The Supreme Court, on Thursday, January 11, 2024, reserved judgment on the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Ladi Adebutu, seeking the nullification of Dapo Abiodun’s victory in the March 18 governorship election.
Adebutu alleges violations of the Electoral Act, 2022, corrupt practices, and challenges Governor Abiodun’s qualification to stand for the election, leading to a 5-man panel, headed by Justice John Inyang Okoro, declining to hear cross appeals filed by the APC and INEC. The panel insists on awaiting the outcome of Adebutu’s main appeal.
Efforts by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, to move the cross appeals are refused, as the panel asserts that the main appeal adequately covers the issues. PDP and their gubernatorial candidate, aim to overturn the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which upheld Abiodun’s victory on November 23.
Recall that the Court of Appeal dismissed Adebutu’s appeal for lacking merit, while Justice Jane Esienanwan Inyang found merit, sacking Governor Abiodun and ordering fresh elections in 99 disrupted polling units.
Chris Uche, SAN, counsel for the appellants, argues that INEC’s failure to conduct fresh elections in the affected polling units renders Abiodun’s return unlawful. Abiodun Owonikoko, counsel for INEC, urges the apex court to dismiss the appeal, emphasizing that elections are determined by vote spread, not margin, per Section 179 of the 1999 Constitution.
Wole Olanipekun, counsel for the second respondent, requests the court to dismiss the appeal challenging the concurrent decisions of the lower courts. INEC declared Abiodun the winner with 276,298 votes, defeating Adebutu, who polled 262,383 votes.