The senator representing the Ondo South district, Nicholas Tofowomo, has sued a former Deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi at the Federal High Court sitting in Akure, the capital, asking for the latter’s disqualification.
The former deputy governor defeated the senator at the last senatorial primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, held in Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state in May. In the primary supervised by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Tofowomo scored 74 votes behind Ajayi, who scored 78 votes to become the candidate of the party in the district.
Not satisfied with the process, Tofowomo approached the court to challenge the academic qualifications of the PDP senatorial candidate. Apart from Ajayi who is the first defendant, the PDP and the INEC were also joined in the suit as second and third defendants respectively.
In a suit number, FHC/ CS/AK/ 83 /2022 filed on Tuesday July 5, 2022, by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr Femi Emodamori, the senator said Ajayi did not meet the constitutional requirements for contesting the 2023 general election as contained in the interpretation and application of Section 66(1) (i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 29(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as other relevant laws.
Tofowomo also prayed the court to determine if together with the totality of the facts before the court, the 1st defendant (Ajayi) did not present false information and/or forged certificate(s) in his INEC Form EC9 and the other documents attached thereto which he submitted to the third defendant (INEC) as the candidate of the PDP for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 general election.
The senator’s prayer also includes, “An order of this honourable court disqualifying the 1st defendant as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections.
“An order of this Honourable Court declaring the Plaintiff, having scored the 2nd highest number of votes in the 2nd Defendant’s Primary Election for Ondo South Senatorial District held on 23rd May 2023, as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant for the said Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections.
“An order of this Honourable Court directing the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to substitute the Plaintiff for the 1st Defendant as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections,”
He also said, “I verily believe that the 1st defendant lied and/or swore to false information when he stated in Exhibit FEE4 (the Affidavit For Correction of Date of Birth which he submitted to the 3rd Defendant) that he was issued the 2004 WASSC (Exhibit FEE3) No. NGWASSCS 5529745 and claimed, “that in the said certificate my date of birth was mistakenly printed as December 8, 1980, instead of 24th September 1968”.
The Senator further stated, “Whether, having regard to Section 29 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st Defendant (Agboola) should be disqualified as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant (PDP) for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 general election.”