The crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party deepened on Monday with the Supreme Court dismissing an appeal filed before it on the nomination of the party’s governorship candidate.
The apex court ordered that the suit instituted by a governorship aspirant, Jimi Lawal, be remitted to the Federal High Court for fresh trial.
Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, in a judgment in the appeal of the PDP, held that the Federal High Court was wrong in declining jurisdiction in the matter of Lawal.
Lawal, who contested the May 25 governorship primary election of the PDP, challenged the emergence of Adebutu as winner, alleging that an unlawful delegate list was used by the party to conduct the election.
Among others, Lawal prayed that the purported primary election of May 25 be cancelled and another conducted with the authentic ad hoc delegates.
However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the FHC, in his judgment delivered on July 29, declined to hear the suit of Lawal on the grounds that the primary election was a domestic affair of a political party and dismissed the suit.
An unsatisfied Lawal approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja with a prayer that the decision of the FHC be voided and set aside on the ground of miscarriage of justice.
A three-person panel of justices of the Court of Appeal, in their judgment delivered on September 30, agreed with Lawal, set aside the judgment of the FHC, and ordered that the suit be heard on its merits.
The PDP, not satisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, approached the Supreme Court, praying that the judgment of the Federal High Court be upheld to the effect that the conduct of the primary election was its domestic affair.
But Justice Saulawa disagreed with the PDP, holding that by virtue of Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 84 of the Electoral Act of 2022, the Federal High Court had power to hear Lawal’s case.
The apex court proceeded with an order to the Chief Judge of the FHC to reassign the case to another judge for retrial on its merits.