Supreme court sacks Ondo APC lawmaker

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the removal of a member of the Ondo state House of Assembly, representing Okitipupa constituency 11, Sina Akinwumi.

The Apex court therefore upheld the judgement of the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure that set aside the election of the APC lawmaker.

The Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Mary Peter-Odili unanimously validated the issuance of the Certificate of return to James Ololade-Gbegudu by INEC as the authentic lawmaker representing the constituency, for winning the APC primary.

Ololade-Gbegudu had approached the court through his counsel, Mr Femi Emodamori, to seek an order to compel the party and INEC to recognise him as the authentic APC candidate for the constituency and not the lawmaker-elect, Mr Sina Akinwunmi, having won the party’s primary conducted on October 5, last year.

The Apex Court ordered the Speaker of the Assembly and the Clerk to immediately swear-in Gbegudu as the new lawmaker for the constituency.

The Ondo State High Court had on May 15 declared Gbegudu as the winner of the party’s primary conducted on October 5, last year.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had withdrawn the certificate of return issued to Akinwunmi and issued fresh certificate to Ololade Gbegudu in line with the court’s judgement.

Delivering a judgement that lasted more than two hours on May 15, 2019, Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe of the Ondo state High Court held that from all evidence laid before the court by officials of the APC, documentary evidence including the primary election result sheet adduced by Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Femi Emodamori, showed that Ololade-Gbegudu actually won the APC assembly ticket.

The Court agreed with Gbegudu’s lead Counsel, Femi Emodamore, that “the Claimant (Gbegudu) further avers that the total number of accredited voters at the said direct primary election as recorded by the representatives of the 1st Defendant (APC) were 7,000 while the total valid votes were 6,500, out of which he (Gbegudu) scored 4,000 votes to emerge winner of the primary; the 4th Defendant (Akinwunmi) scored zero (0) as attested to by the APC Ondo State Legislative Primaries Election Committee and the original Summary Result Sheet for State House of Assembly duly signed by Abuh Andrew Abuh and Ahmed Musa Momoh as the Chairman and Secretary of the committee.” Gbegudu as the winner of the party’s primary conducted on October 5, last year.”

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