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Kogi 2023: Court dismisses Achimugu’s case against APC, Ododo, says petition lacks merit

Governor unveils $25,000 loan scheme for Kogi farmers

As electioneering activities heat up in Kogi State ahead of the governorship election scheduled to take place on November 11, 2023, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed a case filed by Abubakar Achimugu against Usman Ododo, the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Ozigi Deedat, and INEC for lack of merit.

In his judgement, marked “FHC/CS/585/2023: Achimugu v. APC & 3 Ors”, Justice Obiora Egwuatu said that the fact in issue, which arose on April 14, 2023, had exhausted its time and was, as a result, lacking in merit.

Achimugu bittered about the outcome of the APC governorship primaries that produced Ododo as winner and Ozigi Deedat as runner-up; he had sought their disqualification on the grounds that neither candidate failed to resign from their jobs at the public service before contesting at the primary election.

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Justice Egwuatu, however, held that the 2nd and 3rd defendants duly resigned from their positions in government, even over a period of 30 days before the date of the primaries; hence, they were qualified to participate in the primary election.

He said, “Did the 2nd and 3rd Defendants resign as Political Office Holders?

“I have looked at the resignation letters, addressed to the Governor of Kogi State. They were duly received on the 8th of March 2023. The resignation letters became effective from the date of receipt of the letter.”

In defence of his judgement, Justice Egwuatu said that Achimugu’s argument that the defendant didn’t submit his letter of resignation to the APC and INEC does not hold water as there is no law that supports the submission of such letters to INEC and APC, who are not their employers as mandatory.

Justice Egwuatu also held that the 30 days required for the resignation of a public servant contained in the Constitution was 30 days before the General Election, not a party’s primary election.

“The election which held on 14th February 2023, was not a general election but a party primary,” he said.

He held that “the 2nd and 3rd Defendants duly resigned, hence they are qualified to participate in the primary election.”

The suit was therefore dismissed for lack of merit.