Following the ruling of the Court of Appeal affirming his victory, the All Progressives Congress(APC) House of Representatives candidate in the February 23 National Assembly election in Ekiti North Federal constituency I, Mr Peter Owolabi, has petitioned the Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila calling for his immediate inauguration as the rightful representative of the constituency.
Specifically, Owolabi , through his lawyer, R.O. Balogun, urged the speaker to stop all salaries and allowances accruing to the present occupant of the contentious seat, Hon. Kehinde Agboola, since the court of appeal had affirmed his victory in the election.
Owolabi was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, but his victory was upturned by the Federal High court in Abuja, sequel to a suit filed by an aspirant, Bimbo Daramola against the primary of the party.
Subsequently, the court ordered that the certificate
of return issued to Owolabi be withdrawn and given same to Agboola, the
candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, who also came second in the
But Owolabi appealed the judgement and the court affirmed that the primary that produced Owolabi was valid and legal, describing him as the winner of the election.
In a letter dated June 24 and addressed to the Speaker, Owolabi , urged Gbajabiamila to order the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. omolori, to respect the Judgment of the Court of Appeal and conduct the swearing in for Owolabi pronto.
Owolabi restated that by the Judgment of the Court of Appeal, the purported swearing in of Hon. Agboola was a nullity and that he should not be accorded any regards as member of the current National Assembly and no right and benefit should be extended and/or granted to him.
Attached with the letter was another document dated 3rd June, 2019 written to the Hon. Clerk of the National Assembly and the Enrolled Order of the Judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on 21st June, 2019 for your record and necessary action.
The letter reads : “We are solicitors to Barr. Peter Owolabi, member of House of Representatives elect for the Oye/ Ikole Federal Constituency 1 Ekiti State and on whose instruction we write this letter.
” It is on record that, shortly before the inauguration of this current National Assembly and swearing of members of the House of Representatives, we wrote to the Hon. Clerk of the National Assembly and requested him not to conduct swearing in for Hon. Kehinde Agboola of PDP who lost in the general election of 23rd February, 2018 but by virtue of the Judgment of the FCT High Court he was declared elected having nullified the primaries of APC and the nomination of Mr. Peter Owolabi who won the Election and duly returned”.
He said in a letter with reference number ROB/CC/RO/ CNA/01/19 dated 3rd June, 2019, Owolabi has written to the Clerk that there was a pending appeal for stay of execution of the lower courylt’s judgement before the Court of Appeal Abuja against the Judgment of FCT High Court delivered on 16th April, 2019.
“However, our letter was not considered and Hon. Kehinde Agboola was sworn in.
We are glad to inform the Hon. Speaker that the Court of Appeal in a unanimous decision handed down on 21st June, 2019 allowed the appeal of APC and Barr. Peter Owolabi and accordingly set aside the Judgment of the FCT High Court.
“In the light of the Judgment of the Court appeal, the sacred fact is that, the election of Barr. Peter Owolabi as a Member of House of Representatives for Ekiti North Federal constituency 1 remains valid as the suit filed against his nomination never exist in the eyes of the law, the suit having been struck out by the Court of Appeal.
” It is also worthy of note that afortiori, the order of the FCT High Court directing the INEC to withdraw his Certificate of Return is a nullity and that order was never made. Therefore, the Certificate of Return issued to Barr. Peter Owolabi as the winner of the House of Representatives for Ekiti North Federal Constituency 1 is valid and extant.
“Be it noted that even de facto, INEC did not withdraw the Certificate of Return from Barr. Peter Owolabi and no letter to that effect was communicated to him.
” In other words, he is legitimately in possession of his Certificate of Return and this obviates the need for issuance of another Certificate of Return to Barr. Peter Owolabi by INEC”.