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Ondo Poll: Jegede, PDP concede after Supreme Court defeat, party insists Akeredolu’s nomination was illegal

*Jegede congratulates Akeredolu, says even with verdict, 'our respect and reverence for the judiciary and our justices of the supreme court has not diminished'

From GBOLAHAN KAYODE, Akure

Following yesterday’s split decision of the Supreme Court affirming Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu as winner of the October 10, 2020 Ondo governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and flag-bearer in the election, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, have conceded defeat, accepting their fate as now a fait accompli.

But although it has accepted the verdict because there is no further appeal beyond the Supreme Court, PDP has insisted that Akeredolu’s election was null and void to the extent that his nomination as candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was invalid ab initio.

In a statement yesterday, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said PDP’s stand stemmed from the fact that Akeredolu’s nomination by the APC leadership led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni was a violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), explaining that Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution ( as amended) forbids a serving governor from holding any other office.

The apex court in a split judgment 4 – 3 affirmed the election of the Ondo State governor, with the minority judgment siding with the PDP that Akeredolu’s nomination was “an aberration.”

“Once again we say thank you to the Supreme Court. However, we insist and in line with the split decision of the Supreme Court, that there is no way Mai Mala Buni as governor of Yobe state can also function as chairman of All Progressives Congress,” Ologbodiyan contended.

“That is totally an aberration of the doctrine and dictates as established in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Constitution as well as the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“We insist that the process that led to the emergence of Gov. Akeredolu was and remains a violation of the APC Constitution as well as the 1999 Constitution,” Ologbodiyan stressed, pointing out that “Section 183 of the 1999 constitution states that no governor should hold any other position in any capacity apart from the office of the governor. As you know, this was the major ground upon which we went to the Supreme Court.”

 Jegede congratulates Akeredolu on supreme court victory…

In his congratulatory message to the governor on his victory, Jegede noted  that having explored the grievance procedure permitted by the constitution and the law, “it is time to give glory to God,” adding that even with the outcome of the court battle “our respect and reverence for the judiciary and our justices of the supreme court has not diminished.”

He also thanked the legal team, led by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), for their commitment, industry, and dedication to the cause, as well as for their sacrifice and commended the people of Ondo for their steadfastness, saying the decision to approach the apex court was for service and the collective interest of the majority of the people.

“The outcome of today’s judgement should not deter good and well-meaning individuals from aspiring for leadership in our state and in our country. For all our people who have stood strong, we salute you,” the PDP candidate declared.

“We thank the national and state leadership and the generality of the members of PDP for providing us with great support. For our governors who provided the required leadership and kept faith with our aspiration, gratitude, history will judge you right.”

Jegede and his party had asked the Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State capital to sack Akeredolu, saying his nomination form was signed by a sitting governor, Mai Mala Buni (of Yobe State), who doubled as the Acting National Chairman of the APC.

The appeal was filed in line with the constitutional provision that forbade a sitting governor from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

But the appellate court struck out the appeal for lack of merit – a decision which made the appellants seek redress at the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, a seven-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court upheld the re-election of Governor Akeredolu in a majority judgement of four against three.

The three Justices disagreed with the majority judgment, stressing that Akeredolu’s candidacy in the October 10, 2020 poll was a nullity, stressing that the appeal filed by the appellants had merit and ought not to have been  struck out by the appellate court.

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