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Supreme Court upholds Abiodun’s election as Ogun governor

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NAFDAC meets the Ogun State Table Water and Beverage Producers Association of Nigeria 

The Supreme Court affirmed the re-election of Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State on Friday.

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling by a five-member panel, dismissed as meritless an appeal brought by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Ladi Adebutu, to contest the outcome of the state’s governorship election on March 18, 2023.

In its lead judgment, prepared by Justice Tijjani Abubakar, the Supreme Court stated that it saw no basis to overturn Governor Abiodun’s election victory as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The Supreme Court confirmed the Court of Appeal’s earlier decision, which denied the electoral challenge filed by the PDP and its candidate on November 22, 2023.

“This appeal is unmeritorious, and it is accordingly dismissed,” the court ruled.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Governor Abiodun the winner with 276,298 votes, defeating his nearest challenger, PDP candidate Adebutu, who received 262,383 votes.

Dissatisfied with the election results, Adebutu petitioned the Ogun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, claiming that he was the legitimate winner of the gubernatorial contest.

He claimed, among other things, that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the terms of the Electoral Act of 2022.

Aside from alleging election irregularities and corrupt activities, Adebutu claimed that violence disenfranchised over 40,000 voters in his strongholds.

He told the tribunal that he received the most valid votes cast in the election and so should have been proclaimed the winner by INEC.

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However, Adebutu’s case was dismissed by Justice Hamidu Kunaza, who presided over a three-man tribunal that declared Abiodun the legitimate winner of the contest.

Similarly, on November 24, 2023, the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal confirmed the tribunal’s verdict by a vote of two to three.

While the appellate court’s majority decision, delivered by Justice Joseph Ikyegh, found no reason to overturn the tribunal’s decision, Justice Jane Inyang’s minority verdict directed INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued to Abiodun and conduct a fresh election in some polling units across the state within 90 days.

INEC also filed a cross-appeal, asking the Supreme Court to confirm the election results it declared.

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