Court okays Ahmed Ododo as APC’s gov’ship candidate for Kogi state


Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday held that Mr Ahmed Ododo is legally qualified as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State.

Justice Egwuatu made the decision while delivering judgment in a suit seeking his disqualification over alleged breach of the electoral laws.

Ododo had won the APC primary election of April 14, 2023 which some of the contestants disputed and claimed that he was not qualify to have contested the primary in the first place.

Dissatisfied over his emergence, an aspirant of the APC, Mr Abubakar Achimugu, had approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, asking that Ododo be disqualified from contesting the November 11 governorship election on grounds that he did not resign his employment with the Kogi State public service 30 days before contesting the governorship primary.

Delivering judgment in the suit on Tuesday, Justice Egwuatu held that contrary to the claim of Achimugu, evidence showed that Ododo resigned his appointment more than 30 days before participating in the APC primary.

According to Justice Egwuatu, exhibits tendered by the defendants showed that while Ododo’s resignation letter was received by the Office of the Kogi State Governor on March 8, 2023 and that of the 3rd defendant, Mr Salami Deedat, was received on March 9.

The court while noting that an employee or appointee’s resignation letter comes into effect the moment the notice is received, held that the employee would not be held responsible if the employer neglected to act on it either by continuing with the payment of salary.

“Satisfied that they resigned their appointment on March 8 and 9, more than 30 days before the April 14 primary…the suit is bereft of any merit and accordingly dismissed.

Earlier, the court dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendants claiming that the suit was statute barred having been filed more than 14 days as required by law.

The judge agreed with the plaintiff that the cause of action actually occurred on April 14, when Ododo and Deedat contested the primary and not when they purchased the expression of interest and nomination form. “It is one thing to purchase form and it is another thing to participate in an election”, Egwuatu held.

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.

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

The APC, Ododo , Salami Momodu Deedat and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents respectively.

The aggrieved governorship aspirant had also urged the Judge to invoke the provisions of the law to disqualify the gubernatorial candidate on the grounds of illegality in the ways and manners he emerged.