Ondo: Akeredolu in narrow escape as Supreme Court affirms his victory

The election of Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu was on Wednesday affirmed by the Supreme Court in a split decision of 4-to-3.

The apex court in a majority judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim upheld Akeredolu’s election on the grounds that the appeal by Olutayo Jegede and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lacked merit since the appellants failed to include Yobe State Governor and Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mai Mala Buni, a party in the suit.

The majority decision upheld the decision of the Ondo state governorship election tribunal, which had earlier dismissed the PDP and its candidate’s petition for lacking in merit. The majority judges agreed with the decision of the tribunal that the failure of the appellants to include Buni was fatal to their case.

Justices Inyang Okoro, Mohammed Tijani Abubakar and Mohammed Garba all supported the majority decision.

However, the minority judgment led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, held that since APC is the principal and was made a party, there was no need to join Buni in the suit. Odili was supported by Justices Ejenbi and Ibrahim Saulawa

They also held that by the position of the law, Governor Mai Mala Buni should not be included in the petition, claiming that as a sitting governor, he cannot be acting Chairman of the APC and was therefore wrong to have submitted the name of Akeredolu to INEC as candidate of the APC.

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