The Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Friday, failed in their bid to have the Federal High Court in Abuja dismiss a pre-election suit seeking the governor’s removal from office.
The plaintiff in the suit, which Akeredolu and the APC wanted the court to dismiss, was instituted by Mr Olusegun Abraham, the first runner-up in the September 3, 2016 governorship primary of the APC in Ondo State.
In a ruling on Friday, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba dismissed the separate notices of preliminary objection filed by the governor and the APC against the suit.
The judge, however, agreed with the applicants that due to the contentious nature of the dispute in the suit, the suit was wrongly commenced via originating summons instead of writ of summons which would entail calling witnesses by the parties.
But rather than dismiss the suit as prayed by Akeredolu and the APC, the judge ordered that the matter be properly commenced via a writ of summons.
The judge, therefore, directed parties to file their pleadings and all necessary processes in the suit on or before November 30.
He fixed adjourned till December 6 and 7 for the hearing.
Akeredolu had emerged from the September 3, 2016 primary as the governorship candidate of the APC in Ondo State and proceeded to contest and won the November 26, 2016 main election in the state.
However, dissatisfied with the conduct of the primary and its outcome, Abraham had, through his lawyer, Prof. Joash Amupitan (SAN), filed his suit seeking an order of court nullifying Akeredolu’s emergence from the primary as the party’s candidate on the basis that the primary was flawed as a result of the usage of an illegal delegates’ list.
But Akeredolu, through his lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), and the APC, through Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had filed separate notices of preliminary objection in which they sought an order dismissing the suit on the basis that the suit was incompetent and that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.