By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Supreme Court, yesterday, sacked Hon. Sunday Aghedo of the All Progressive Congress, APC, from Edo State House of Assembly.
Aghedo who hitherto represented Ovia South West Constituency, was ordered by the apex court to within 90 days, refund all salaries and allowances he collected from Edo State House of Assembly from May 2015, till date.
In a unanimous judgment, a five-man panel of Justices of the apex court, declared Mr. Godwin Adenomo also of the APC, as the bonafide winner of the legislative election in Ovia South-West Constitu-ency of Edo State House of Assembly, held on April 11, 2015.
The Supreme Court panel affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Benin which had earlier declared that Mr. Adenomo was the authentic winner of the primary election APC conducted for the constituency on December 2, 2014.
Delivering the lead judgment on Friday, Justice Dantijo Mohammed ordered the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly to immediately swear in Mr. Adenomo as a member of the Assembly representing Ovia South West Constituency.
The court further awarded N300,000 cost against the appelant, Hon. Aghedo, who had challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal, Benin delivered by Justice Moore Asiemo Adumein.
Both the Supreme and appellate court had noted that the pre- election matter arose from a primary election in which Mr. Adenomo scored the highest votes cast, having secured 152 votes as against 140 that was scored by the appellant.
However, instead of submitting Adenomo’s name, the appellant’s name was forwarded as the party’s candidate for the election, with a three man appeal panel that was set up by the party to look into his complaint, upholding the decision of the party.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the decision of the party’s appeal panel, Adenomo dragged APC and the primary election Committee to court, accusing them of imposing the appellant on the constituency.
He accused the party of denying him the ticket despite the fact that he won the primary election.
Based on his suit, the Federal High Court sitting in Benin ordered the APC to conduct a fresh primary for the position.
Adenomo however rejected the ruling and took the matter before the appellate court.
Similarly, Aghedo who was also not satisfied with the lower court’s verdict, also filed a cross-appeal to vacate the order setting aside the decision of the party’s appeal panel.
Consequently, the appellate court, in its verdict, nullified the high court decision and declared Adenomo winner of the primary election.
Both Aghedo and APC however took the case before the Supreme Court where they contended that a political party reserved the right to sponsor a candidate of its choice at any election, an argument that did not persuade the apex court panel yesterday.
Source: Vanguard News