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In Split Decision of 4 to 3 Justices, Supreme Court Retains Akeredolu as Governor

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With a split decision of four-to-three Justices, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the victory of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorship election in Ondo State.

In the majority judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, four of the seven-member panel, dismissed the appeal by Eyitayo Jegede and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the grounds that it was incompetent.

Justice Agim upheld an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal, that the petition filed by Jegede and his party at the election tribunal was incompetent because they failed to include Yobe Governor and Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, as a party.

However, in the minority judgment read by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, the court upheld the appeal and dismissed the cross-appeal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Akeredolu and the APC.

Odili and two other members of the panel were of the view that since the APC, for which Buni acted, was a party in the case, there was no need to include him as a party.

Many argued the apex court only acted to save Akeredolu as governor since all the justices agreed that Buni as governor of Yobe and APC Caretaker Committee Chairman is an illegality as it contravenes Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution.

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