Ikorodu Federal Constituency: Court declares Shittu PDP’s candidate

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The Federal High Court in Lagos ruled that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) provided no compelling reason for a repeat election or cancellation of its May 24 primary election for the Ikorodu Federal Constituency.

As a result, the court ordered PDP to submit the name of Abdul Kareem Shittu as the party’s candidate to INEC instead of Awesu AbdulAzeez, whose name had already been submitted.

Shittu won the party’s Lagos State House of Representatives primary on May 24, 2022, by a simple majority, according to Justice Daniel Osiagor.

Justice Osiagor also ruled that the INEC form signed by party officials and countersigned by the INEC official listed the plaintiff, Abdul Kareem Shittu, as the primary election winner.

Shitu was ordered by the judge to be recognized as the validly nominated candidate for the Ikorodu Federal Constituency by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The order was issued while the judge was delivering judgment in Shittu’s suit challenging the PDP’s alleged submission of the name of the third defendant in the suit, Awesu AbdulAzeez A., to INEC as its candidate for the constituency.

Defendants

The first and second defendants are the PDP and INEC.

The third defendant, Awesu, had challenged the suit as being statute-barred, but in his decision, Justice Osiagor held that the plaintiff did not violate Section 285 of the Electoral Act, which prescribed a 14-day window for filing pre-election matters.

He held that what Shittu complained about was not the outcome of the election, but the purported submission of the third defendant’s name to INEC on June 17th, which he became aware of on June 18th, adding that the plaintiff’s suit addresses that window limitation.

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On the third defendant’s claim that the plaintiff did not seek resolution of the dispute through the party’s internal mechanism as stipulated in the party’s constitution, Justice Osiagor ruled that the party’s rule is subservient to the Electoral Act.

He went on to say that the provisions in the party’s rules that provide for an internal dispute resolution mechanism cannot deprive the Federal High Court of jurisdiction as freely granted under the Electoral Act.

To make matters worse, the PDP did not appear in court to deny or file any documents to prove the veracity of the plaintiff’s May 6th result.

The judge warned politicians that the days of gathering people in the name of elections and then going back to overturn the people’s mandate were over.

Shittu stated in his affidavit before the court that he participated in the PDP’s primary election to elect its candidate for the House of Representatives in Ikorodu on May 24, 2022, and received the most votes cast.

He stated that after winning the primary election, his name was announced in front of all party members who witnessed and participated in the election, and his name was entered into the party’s official result slip.

Shittu also stated that the party later cancelled the primary election due to a petition signed by the third respondent, and that the election was rescheduled and held on June 6.

He contended that in the rescheduled primary election, in which he and Awesu AbdulAzeez both received the same number of votes, there should have been a re-run based on that and in accordance with the party’s guidelines for primary elections to nominate its candidate.

He went on to say that instead of holding one, the party went ahead and nominated the third respondent as its candidate to INEC, which compelled him to file the lawsuit.

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