The State and National Assembly Appeal Court sitting at the Court of Appeal in Lagos today, November 2, upheld the election of Jesse Okey-Joe Onuakalusi of the Labour Party (LP) as the duly elected House of Representatives member for Constituency ll Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos.
The court in a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal lodged by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Ganiyu Johnson, reports The Nation.
The three-member panel held that all the issues raised by Johnson were pre-election matters, which the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the LP candidate as the winner after he polled 29,386 votes to defeat Johnson, who garnered 16,650 votes in the election.
Johnson, a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, represented the constituency in the last four years after winning the APC ticket in 2019.
Dissatisfied with the results, Johnson filed the petition against INEC, which was listed as the first respondent and Onuakalusi and LP which were listed as the 2nd and 3rd respondents.
Johnson’s petition listed several grounds, including “That following the conduct of the primaries of LP on May 28th 2022, one Augustine Chiagozie Matthew emerged as the winner of the primaries.
“That LP refused/failed to forward the name of the said Augustine Chiagozie Matthew to INEC as its candidate.
“That the name of the said Augustine was not substituted or withdrawn.
“That Jesse Okey-Joe Onuakalusi‘s name is not on the register of members of the LP submitted to INEC as he was not duly sponsored as a candidate by the party.
“That Onuakalusi’s personal particulars in Form EC9 were not submitted prior to the conduct of the elections of Feb. 25, 2023.”
To support his petition, the petitioner called three witnesses and tendered several documents.
In its 100-paged-judgment on the petition, the tribunal agreed with the 2nd respondent that the challenge to the primaries that produced the said Matthew had been put to rest by the decision of the Federal High Court and the Supreme Court and same could not be revived before the tribunal.
On the issue of membership of the second respondent, the Tribunal held that this was both a pre and post-election issue.
It also held that the Secretary of the Okota Ward 3 was in a better position to testify as the issue of membership had long been held to be an internal affair of a party.