The Ondo State High Court sitting as an appellate court over the earlier judgment of the Ondo State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal, has struck out the two appeals filed by the APC and its candidate in the recent Rerun Election for Igabra-Oke Ward 1 Councilorship in Ifedore local government area of the State.
Subsequently, the court upheld the decision of the tribunal that ordered fresh councillorship election in Igbara-Oke after the ADC and its candidate, Mr. Ojo Busola challenged the declaration of the APC candidate.
Recall that on 21st January, 2022, the Local Government Election Petition Tribunal had nullified the Election and the declaration of Mr. 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 its candidate in the Election, Mr. Ojo Busola Emmanuel through their counsel, Femi 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 its 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, Justice A. O. Adebusoye held that by virtue of Section 97 of the Ondo State Local Government Administration, Conduct of Local Government Election and Allied Matters 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 which the APC and its candidate failed to meet up with.
The Judge observed that APC and her candidate filed their appeals on 1st February, 2022 and 27th January, 2022, but they did not transmit their records of appeal or file their Briefs of Argument within 30 days.
Consequently, the Court agreed with the submission of the Counsel to ADC and its candidate, Mr 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 by the electoral body.