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Ogun Guber: PDP’s Adebutu floors APC, INEC.

*awards N6m as damages against complainants.

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The Federal High Court, Abeokuta, presided over by Justice Joyce Obehi Malik, today dismissed the APC v. INEC & 3 ORS suit with Suit No FHC/AB/CS/149/2022 filed by the APC against Hon Ladi Adebutu (the PDP Governorship candidate for Ogun State) and his running mate, Hon Adekunle Akinlade and the PDP, challenging Akinlade and Adebutu’s qualification to contest the 2023 governorship election for alleged double nomination. The court awarded a total of N6 million cost to Adebutu, Akinlade and the PDP.

In the defence for Adebutu, Akinlade and the PDP, Chief Mike Ozekhome led Prof Amuda-Kannike, SAN, Chief Emeka Okpoko, SAN, Isiaka Olagunju, SAN, Kadiri Asamah, SAN, Clement Onwuenwunor, SAN, and a team of other lawyers. Wale Habeeb Ajayi, Esq, was Counsel for the Plaintiff, APC. Chief Mike Ozekhome had urged the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety, notwithstanding the belated notice of discontinuance hurriedly filed by the APC only this morning when it very well knew it had lost the case on its merit. He argued that the case had come up on four different occasions for argument after issues had been properly joined by all parties and arguments had indeed commenced only yesterday, before the APC, sensing its imminent defeat, suddenly threw in the towel belatedly by filing a notice of discontinuance just this morning, the second day of hearing and argument.

Citing several appellate court decisions, including amongst others, ZOAKA V. BUBA & ANOR (2020), OGBU V. NNAMCHI & ANOR (2014), ERONINI V. IHEUKO (1989), and EZOMO V. AG, BENDEL STATE (1986), Ozekhome urged Justice Joyce Obehi Malik to dismiss the suit in its entirety and award heavy cost of 3m against the APC in favour of Adebutu.so as to prevent the APC from ever coming back through the back door to file a similar frivolous suit. Bar Wale Habeeb conceded to the order of dismissal as being the proper order to make, but conceded only 1m as cost. The court wholly agreed with Chief Ozekhome and Kannike’ s submissions that the proper order to make in the circumstances of the case was one of outright dismissal and not one of merely striking out the case. She accordingly dismissed the case and awarded N6 million cost in favour of the defendants(N2 million apiece) to Hon Ladi Adebutu (the PDP’s governorship candidate for Ogun State), his running mate, Hon Adekunle Akinlade, and the PDP.

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