By Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun State capital has dismissed the suit against the candidacy of Akogun Lere Oyewumi as Osun West Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the forthcoming election.
The court on Wednesday said that the suit which was instituted by Dr Akin Ogunbiyi was filed out of time and could not be heard by the court.
Counsel to the first defendant (Lere), Barr. Dosu Babatunde, in one of his prayers at the hearing stage of the suit asked the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the matter was filed out of time, its an internal affair of the party and that Ogunbiyi had not exhausted all internal mechanism of the PDP before heading for court.
The plaintiff’s legal team, led by Barr. Abeni Muhammed, SAN, however, presented evidence and exhibits showing steps already taken by his client before taking the matter to the court, contravening the prayer of Lere’s counsel which was backed by Barr. Iyiola Akintola and Toafeek Tewogbade, counsels to the second and third defendants.
The suit challenged the legality of PDP’s Osun West senatorial primary of October 6, 2018 held outside the senatorial headquarter of the district, Iwo and prayed the court to declare the plaintiff as the candidate of the party in accordance with earlier decisions of the party.
In his judgement, Justice Peter Lifu held that the plaintiff’s appeal to the party was contained in a letter dated 7th of October and acknowledged by the party on 9th of October. He however struck out the suit on ground of jurisdiction, saying that the suit was statue bar.
It would be recalled that Ogunbiyi, a former governorship aspirant of the party, in July 2018 lost gubernatorial ticket of the party to senator Ademola Adeleke in controversial primaries, Lere Oyewumi was the Director General of Adeleke campaign organisation, and a party to a signed reconciliatory agreement facilitated by the National leadership of the party to resolve the impasse of the fallout of the primaries prior to the last governorship elections in the state.
Then, the party leadership had conceded the senatorial ticket to Ogunbiyi, a position that was further reinforced by a panel saddled with the senatorial primaries in September and relevant documents were issued to him.
However, on October 6, while the national convention of the party was going on in Portharcourt, Rivers State and Ogunbiyi was there as the deputy chairman of the Welfare and Hospitality Committee, Lere was said to have won the senatorial ticket at a purported primary election held in Osogbo, outside the senatorial district.
Dissatisfied with the development, Ogunbiyi challenged the matter at the court. Defendants in the case were Lere Oyewumi, Ademola Adeleke, the PDP and the INEC as first, second, third and fourth respondents.
Ogunbiyi, notwithstanding, appreciated his supporters and good people of Osun for standing with him through the struggles. The decision of the court, according to his legal team, would be contested at the Court of Appeal.