Court affirms Ododo as Kogi APC governorship candidate

Court affirms Ododo as Kogi APC governorship candidate

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, affirmed Ahmed Ododo as the lawful candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi, having validly resigned his appointment from Kogi civil service before contesting the primary election.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu affirmed Mr Ododo as the APC candidate while delivering judgement in a suit filed by Abubakar Achimugu, also of the APC, challenging the candidature of Mr Ododo.

Mr Achimugu anchored his suit on the grounds that Mr Ododo and his running mate, as at the time they contested the primary election to fly the flag of APC in the Nov. 11 election in Kogi, were still public servants in the state civil service.

In the judgement, Ms Egwuatu held that contrary to the claim of Mr Achimugu, evidence showed that Mr Ododo resigned his appointment more than 30 days before participating in the APC primary.

The judge said that exhibits tendered by the defendants showed that while Mr Ododo’s resignation letter was received by the office of the Kogi governor on March 8, that of the 3rd defendant, Salami Deedat, was received on March 9.

“I have examined the letters of resignation filed by the defendants, they were addressed to the Kogi governor and were duly received and signed.

“A resignation letter becomes effective once it is received and accepted by the relevant authority. It is not when the authority replies the letter that it becomes effective.”

The judge held that where a letter of resignation has been received and duly signed, it takes effect and the employee would not be held responsible if the employer continues with the payment of salary.

The court said it was convinced that the defendants resigned their appointments as Auditor-General for local governments and commissioner for local governments, respectively, before contesting the primary election.

“I am satisfied that they resigned their appointments from Kogi government on March 8 and 9, respectively, more than 30 days before the April 14 primary election.

“I hold that this suit is bereft of any merit and accordingly dismissed,” the judge said.

Earlier, the court dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendants claiming that the suit was statute-barred, having not filed it within 14 days as required by law.

The judge agreed with the plaintiff that the cause of action actually occurred on April 14, when Mr Ododo and Ms Deedat contested the primary and not when they purchased the expression of interest and nomination form.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had, on April 15, declared Mr Ododo winner of the APC primary election ahead of the Nov.11 governorship election in the state.

Miffed by this, Achimugu approached the court asking that the primary election be nullified and Ododo be disqualified from contesting the governorship election on the grounds that he was still an employee of the Kogi government when he contested.

The plaintiff in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/584/2023 claimed that Ododo breached Section 182 of the Constitution, Section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022, and Article 7 of the APC’s Constitution in participating in the April 14 governorship primary of the APC.

Mr Achimugu argued that Ododo’s failure to resign his appointment with the Kogi government, 30 days to the primary, made him ineligible for the Nov. 11 guber poll.

Listed in the suit as defendants were the APC, Mr Ododo, Ms Deedat and INEC as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants.


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