The All Progressives Congress (APC) has appealed the September 30 judgment by Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja voiding the candidacy of Osun Governor Isiaka Oyetola and his deputy, Bendict Alabi in the July 16 governorship election.
In a 19-ground notice of Appeal dated October 4, the APC faulted the judgment by Justice Nwite and urged the Appeal Court to affirm Oyetola and Alabi as the candidates of the APC in the July 16 election in Osun State.
The notice of appeal was filed along with a motion on notice in which the APC is also praying the appellate court to stay the execution of the Federal High Court’s judgment pending the conclusion of the appeal.
Justice Nwite’s judgment was on the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/468/2022, filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Mai Mala Buni (who was APC’s acting Chairman), Oyetola, Alabi and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The APC argued, in its motion on notice, that it was in the interest of justice that its right to fair hearing be preserved pending the determination of the appeal.
It added that the application to maintain status quo pending the determination of its appeal was paramount and inevitable as the grounds of the appeal it filed raise issues of substantial points of law with a high possibility of success on the appeal.
The APC is, in its notice of appeal filed by its lawyer, Abiodun Layonu (SAN), challengi the entire judgment of the trial court
The party argued that the Peoples Democratic Party which brought the action, lacked the requisite locus standi to have instituted the suit.
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It added that, “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.”
The APC 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.
It faulted the trial court for assuming jurisdiction over the case filed by the PDP when it ought to know that the plaintiff, (PDP) lacked the locus standi (the right to sue) because the subject of the case relates purely to the internal affairs of the APC.
The APC argued that the findings of the trial court that INEC ought not to 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.
The APC also argued that the trial court erred in law when it held that the plaintiff’s cause of action did not relate to internal affairs of the appellant and as such justiciable.
It also faulted the tri court for holding that suit by the PDP was 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.
The 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.
It added 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 proceeded disqualified them from participating in the Osun State Governorship election.
The APC faulted 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.
The APC states that it did not admit anywhere that the members of the defunct Caretaker Committee/Extra-Ordinary Planning Committee(CCEPC) coordinated the primary that produced Oyetola and Alabi respondents as the appellant Governorship candidates and no such issue was raised by the PDP.