The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has come out to clear the air about the candidacy of the governorship flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Ladi Adebutu.
It was gathered that the commission has said Adebutu remains the PDP governorship candidate that would partake in the forthcoming March 18 polls.
According to the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ogun State, Niyi Ijalaye, Adebutu remains the PDP candidate recognised by the commission for the coming election.
It was learnt that it became necessary for INEC to clear the air about Adebutu’s candidacy following unfounded rumours that the commission does not recognise him as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.
The Ogun INEC REC, however, told pressmen in Abeokuta on Saturday that the rumours are untrue because he has not been delisted from the INEC list.
While calling on residents and the general public to disregard such rumours, Ijalaye pointed out that Adebutu remains the authentic governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State.
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He said, “It is a rumour that is not founded, that is all.”
Naija News recalls that in January, the Supreme Court dismissed four appeals challenging the election of Adebutu as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Ogun State.
Two factions of the PDP had conducted parallel primaries that produced Adebutu and Segun Sowunmi as candidates of the party for the 2023 governorship election.
The primary which produced Sowunmi was said to have been monitored by officials of the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC).
But the primary which produced Adebutu, a former Member of the House of Representatives, is recognized by the National Leadership of the PDP.
However, one of the candidates, Jimi Lawal, had filed a suit to contest the delegate list used by the Sikirulahi Ogundele faction during the primary that produced Adebutu.
Other candidates had also approached the court to challenge the authenticity of the state’s Ogundele-led executive of the party.
In a ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo (now retired) of the Federal High Court had declined to hear Lawal’s suit.
But on September 30, a three-member panel of the court of appeal held Justice Taiwo was wrong to have declined jurisdiction to entertain Lawal’s suit.
A five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun dismissed three of the appeals filed by some PDP ward delegates in the Ogun state on the grounds that they failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action.
The court held that they have no locus standi to initiate any court action against the election outcome since they were not aspirants.
The apex court held that the Abuja Federal High Court was wrong to have declined jurisdiction to hear the suit brought before it by Lawal.
After the retrial, Adebutu was affirmed winner on December 1. Consequently, INEC has listed Adebutu as the state’s governorship candidate.