Appeal Court ruling: Ododo triumphs over Adeyemi, Achimugu again

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Friday, dismissed the appeal filed by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Kogi State, Abubakar Achimugu, seeking to nullify the primary election of the party, which produced Usman Ododo as the APC Governorship candidate for the election slated for November 11 in the state.

The court held in a unanimous judgment that the appeal challenging the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja lacked merit and dismissed it accordingly.

Justice Muhammed Lawal Shuaibu, leading a three-member panel of Justices of the court
held that Achimugu’s appeal was bereft of merit and affirmed the judgement of the trial court.

Achimugu’s case was dismissed on the same day the appeal filed by a former Senator who represented Kogi West in the 9th National Assembly, Smart Adeyemi, was also thrown out for lacking in merit.

The appeal was against the judgment of Justice Obiora Egwuatu delivered on 18th July which held that, Ododo can lawfully continue to fly the flag of the APC in the November 11, 2023 governorship election in Kogi State.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment delivered on Friday held that Achimugu’s appeal was bereft of merit and affirmed the judgement of the trial court.

Achimugu had approached the trial court with a suit seeking to disqualify Ododo from contesting the November 11 governorship election on the ground that he did not resign his employment with the Kogi State public service 30 days before contesting the governorship primary election.

But the trial court, in its judgment, held that, contrary to the claim of Achimugu, evidence showed that Ododo resigned his appointment more than 30 days before participating in the APC primary.

According to Justice Egwuatu, exhibits tendered by the defendants showed that while Ododo’s resignation letter was received by the Office of the Kogi State Governor on March 8, that of the 3rd defendant, Mr Salami Deedat, was received on March 9.

“Satisfied that they resigned their appointment on March 8 and 9, more than 30 days before the April 14 primary election of the APC, the suit is bereft of any merit and is accordingly dismissed,” the court held.

Achimugu, in a Notice of Appeal filed on July 21 through his counsel, Josiah Daniel-Ebune, said Justice Egwuatu erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when he held that Ododo and Salami Deedat (2nd and 3rd defendants) duly resigned their appointment and thus, not caught up with the mandatory provision of what the law requires them to do before they participated in the APC governorship primary election for Kogi State held on April 15, 2023.

He asked the appellate court for an order setting aside the judgement of the trial court and granting all his reliefs sought in his amended originating summons.

In the case of Adeyemi, the Appeal Court held that the former lawmaker failed to prove the criminal allegations in his case.

Justice Shuaib held that the burden of proof was on the plaintiff who alleged irregularities in the conduct of the primary election of the APC for the nomination of its governorship candidate.

He said, “The evidence placed before the trial court by the respondents was not controverted by the appellant in this circumstance, issue one is hereby resolved against the appellant.

“Where commission of a crime is an issue, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Allegation of falsification of votes is a criminal act and it is required in law to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, which the appellant could not prove, consequently, issue two is resolved against the appellant.”

“On the whole, the appeal is un-meritorious  and it is hereby dismissed. The judgement of the lower court is hereby affirmed. Parties are to bear their respective costs,”Justice Shuaibu held.

Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja had, in a judgment delivered on July 12, held that Adeyemi did not prove his allegation that Ododo was not lawfully nominated by the APC.

Adeyemi had alleged in his suit that the primary election that purportedly produced Ododo as the APC governorship candidate did not hold and that the results were forged.

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