The Ondo State High Court sitting as an appellate court over the judgment of the Ondo State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal, on Monday struck out the two appeals filed by the APC and it’s candidate in the recent Rerun Election for Igabra-Oke Ward 1 Councilorship Election in Ondo State.
On 21st January, 2022, the Local Government Election Petition Tribunal had nullified the Election and the declaration of Kehinde Lawal of the APC as the winner of the Election.
The judgment of the Tribunal was sequel to a petition filed by the African Democratic Congress, ADC and it’s candidate in the Election, Ojo Busola Emmanuel through their counsel, Femi Emmanuel Emodamori.
Following the nullification of the Election, the Tribunal had ordered the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) to conduct a fresh Election for the Ward.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the APC and her candidate filed separate appeals before the Ondo State High Court sitting as an appellate court over the Judgement of the Tribunal.
However, in two separate rulings delivered on 28th March, 2022, Hon. Justice A. O Adebusoye of the Ondo State High Court held that by virtue of Section 97 of the Ondo State Local Government Administration, Conduct of Local Government Election and Allied Matters Law and paragraph 2(2) of the 5th Schedule to the Law, an appeal in respect of a Local Government Election must be heard and determined within 30 days from the date of filing the appeal.
The Judge observed that APC and her candidate filed their appeals on 1st February, 2022 and 27th January, 2022 respectively, but they did not transmit their records of appeal or file their Briefs of Argument within 30 days.
Consequently, the Court agreed with Counsel to ADC and Ojo Busola Emmanuel, Femi Emmanuel Emodamori, that the appeals had expired by efflusion of time, and struck out same in line with numerous Supreme Court decisions which the Court cited and relied upon.
By virtue of the judgment of Appeal Court, the earlier judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal directing ODIEC to conduct a fresh Election for Igabra-Oke Ward 1 must now be complied with.