BY BAYO OYEWALE
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has voided the candidacy of Hon. Afolabi Oluyori Solomon in the 2011 House of Assembly election for Ijumu Constituency.
Solomon had contested under the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), now All Progressives Congress (APC) where he won the poll and subsequently emerged as the Minority Leader of the state House of Assembly.
But Hon. Yakubu AbdulGaniyu Kayode who felt short changed by his party, dragged the then ANPP, the electoral umpire, INEC and Solomon as 1st,2nd and 3rd defendants respectively before a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, insisting that he was wrongfully substituted, having earlier emerged as the standard bearer of his party.
Earlier in his ruling on the matter, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, after listening to the submission of both parties, entered judgement in favour of the 3rd defendant.
However on appeal, the Court of Appeal in Abuja has upturned the verdict of the Federal High Court in Lokoja, stressing that the appeal has merit and based on the available facts before it.
The presiding Judge, Justice Amiru Sanusi set aside the earlier verdict delivered on the 30th September, 2011, submitting that the appellant was the rightful candidate of his party in the April,2011 House of Assembly election for Ijumu Constituency.
He therefore declared that the “purported removal of the name of the appellant with that of the 3rd respondent by the 1st and 2nd respondents for the purpose of contesting the April,2011 House of Assembly election is null and void”.
Justice Sanusi subsequently restrained the 1st and 2nd respondents from recognising any other person beside the appellant as candidate for the House of Assembly poll for Ijumu Constituency.
Commenting, the legal counsel to the appellant, Mr. Gimba
Shaba expressed gratitude to the court for the well considered judgement.
He stated that the verdict of the court was another victory for democracy, noting that their journey towards attaining success over the matter was not an easy one.
Meanwhile, the House of Assembly member representing Ijumu constituency in the House, Solomon Afolabi Oluyori insisteed that he still remained a member of the state House of Assembly as his counsel has appealed the judgement at the Supreme Court.