Nigeria: Senator Writes Court Over Delayed Judgment in Suit Against Ex-Deputy Governor

Mr Tofomowo lamented the delay in delivering judgement despite the conclusion of all the relevant processes.

The senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District, Nicholas Tofowomo, has written the Federal High Court in Akure, demanding judgement on the pre-election case he instituted seeking the disqualification of a former deputy governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi, as the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023.

Mr Tofomowo lamented the delay in delivering judgement despite the conclusion of all the relevant processes.

The senator lost the ticket to return to the Senate on the platform of the PDP to Mr Ajayi, who had returned to the party after his foray at the Zenith Labour Party where he contested for governor in the last governorship election.

At the senatorial primaries in May, Mr Ajayi scored 78 votes to defeat Mr Tofomowo, who polled 74 votes to become the party’s candidate for Ondo South.

The senator is, however, challenging the eligibility of Mr Ajayi, with reference to his academic qualifications.

Besides Mr Ajayi who is the first defendant, the PDP and the electoral commission, INEC, were also joined as the second and third defendants respectively in the suit. The suit was filed on 5 July 2022, by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Femi Emodamori.

In the suit, the senator argued that Mr Ajayi did not meet the constitutional requirements for contesting the 2023 general election as contained in the interpretation and application of Section 66(1)(i) of the Nigerian Constitution and Section 29(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act 2022 as well as other relevant laws.

Mr Tofomowo’s fresh concerns bordered on the failure of the court to deliver judgement after concluding the hearing in the case. Parties have also adopted their written addresses for judgment since August.

In a reminder letter dated 12th October and addressed to the Station Registrar of the Federal High Court, Akure Judicial Division, the senator’s lawyer, Mr Emodamori, said the court has not informed parties of the judgement date despite the fact that it has till 19th of this month under the Constitution to deliver its verdict.

The lawyer said, “The Suit is a Pre-Election matter relating to the candidacy of the People’s Democratic Party for Ondo South Senatorial District.

“It was commenced by Originating Summons, and parties adopted their respective written addresses at the hearing of the case on 19th July, 2022, after his Lordship, Hon. Justice R. M Aikawa tentatively adjourned the case till 30th August, 2022 for judgment.

“However, up until now, no date has been communicated to the parties for the judgment. By virtue of Section 294 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), every court is expected to deliver its judgment in writing not later than 90 days after the conclusion of evidence and final addresses by the parties. The 90 days period in the instant case would expire on or about 19th October, 2022.

“Apart from the above constitutional provision and the understandably huge public interest in the case, it is most desirable for all the parties to know the outcome of the case promptly, for them to effectively prepare and execute their political campaign plans for the Ondo South Senatorial District.

“Consequently, we hereby respectfully request that you kindly bring this letter to the attention of his Noble Lordship, Hon. Justice R.M Aikawa, for necessary action.”

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