The main opposition party in Nigeria has suffered another huge blow in its legal battle against the ruling party over the outcome of another election.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its governorship candidate in the governorship election that held in Ekiti State in 2018, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka finally lost out in its suit challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC and its governorship candidate in the election, Kayode Fayemi.
The matter had lingered from the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal through the Court of Appeal and finally to the highest court in the land.
Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by the PDP and Olusola-Eleka challenging the election of Governor Fayemi.
According to The Punch, affirming Fayemi’s election, the five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad unanimously held that the appeal challenging the outcome of the poll lacked merit.
Justice John Okoro, who read the lead judgment, affirmed the judgments of both the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal and the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which had both dismissed the petition challenging the outcome of the July 2018 poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress polled a total of 197,459 votes to defeated Olusola-Eleka and the PDP who placed second with 178,121 votes in the July 14, 2018 election.
Having rejected the outcome of the election, PDP and Olusola-Eleka filed their petition before the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal which sat and delivered its judgment in Abuja.
The petitioners alleged among others in their petition that the election was marred by a lot of wrongs including non-compliance with the Electoral Act. But the tribunal on January 28, 2019 dismissed their petition and affirmed the results declared by INEC.
PDP and Olusola-Eleka further appealed to the Court of Appeal, raising seven issues against the judgment of the tribunal.
But delivering judgment, Justice Stephen Adah who led the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, resolved all the seven issues raised against the appellants and in favour of the respondents – Fayemi, INEC and APC. Justice Adah dismissed the case for lacking in merit, a decision the two other members of the panel – Justices Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson and Emmanuel Agim, consented to.
In their further appeal to the Supreme Court, the PDP and Olusola-Eleka, urged the apex court through their lawyer, Yusuf Ali (SAN), to upturn the lower court’s judgment.
The appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Friday.
With the verdict of the Supreme Court on the matter, the victory of Fayemi stands. The PDP and Olusola-Eleka cannot challenge the APC and Fayemi’s victory anywhere as the judgment of the apex court is final.
It will be recalled the former Governor Ayodele Fasoye had supported his former Deputy, Olusola-Eleka against Fayemi during the election.
Fayose had in the past boasted the Olusola-Eleka will reclaim the mandate given to him through the court. But, the final decision of the Supreme Court has proved otherwise.
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