A Federal High Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Tuesday ordered a federal lawmaker, Mr. Bode Ayorinde, to stop parading himself as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the forthcoming House of Representatives election.
Ayorinde is the incumbent member of the House of Representatives, representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency of Ondo State.
The court also ordered the National Secretariat of the PDP to remove Ayorinde’s name and send the name of Mr. Sodiq Obanoyen to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party.
Obanoyen reportedly won the House of Representatives’ primary in the Owo/Ose Federal constituency, held in Owo in October 2018, having scored 107 votes while Ayorinde polled 73 votes.
But the party sent Ayorinde’s name to the INEC as the party’s candidate for the election as Obanoyen was disqualified by the party.
Not satisfied with the development, Obanoyen challenged the action of the party at the court. The suit had the PDP, the chairman of the Ondo State PDP Mr. Clement Faboyede, Ayorinde and the INEC as the first, second, third and fourth defendants of the case respectively.
The counsel for the third defendant (Ayorinde), Mr. Tolu Babaleye, in one of his prayers, asked the court to uphold the disqualification of the plaintiff on the grounds that Obanoyen did not resign his appointment as a legislative aide to the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekeremadu, before obtaining the form to contest, the action was said to be against the party’s election guidelines.
The plaintiff’s legal team, led by Mr. Remi Olatubora, however, presented the evidence that showed the appropriate resignation of its client to the court.
The judge, Justice Abdul Dogo, struck out the prayers of the first and third defendants for lack of merit. The court also held that the plaintiff duly tendered his resignation letter before obtaining the form and thereby qualified to contest the election.
He ruled, “The first defendant, PDP is hereby ordered to forward the name of the plaintiff to the fourth defendant as the candidate of the first defendant in the election.
“The third defendant, Ayorinde, is hereby restrained from parading himself as the candidate of the first defendant in the election.
“The fourth defendant is hereby restrained from recognising the third defendant as the candidate of the first defendant in the election.”
In a reaction, counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Remi Olatubora, commended the court, saying the judgment confirmed that the judiciary was still working in the country.
However, the counsel for Ayorinde, Mr. Tolu Babaleye said he would need to consult with his client to determine the next line of action on the matter.