SENATOR Ademola Adeleke has suffered a major setback in his bid to become the next Osun State governor after an Oshogbo high court ruled that his opponent Dotun Babayemi was the authentic Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate.
On Wednesday, Senator Adeleke emerged as the PDP gubernatorial candidate ahead of the Osun State July 16 governorship elections after coasting to victory in the party’s primaries. However, his victory appears to be short-lived after one of his opponents challenged his victory in court.
In Osun State, the PDP is split into two, with the two factions holding rival primaries that produced different winners. While according to Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the chairman of the electoral committee, Senator Adeleke won with 1,887 votes, the Wale Ojo faction of the party which is backing Mr Babayemi, said their candidate polled 1,781 votes to emerge victorious.
Yesterday, a high court affirmed Mr Babayemi as the authentic gubernatorial candidate, ruling that the primary in which he emerged victorious, which held at the WOCDIF Centre, Ring Road, Oshogbo, was the legitimate PDP convention. Senator Adeleke’s primary which held at the Osogbo Township Stadium, supervised by the PDP primary election committee, was declared illegal.
According to the court, the 215 wards executive officers who participated in the parallel gubernatorial primary held at WOCDIF Centre were authentic and authorised party delegates. Also, the court presided over by Justice Adeyinka Aderibigbe, granted an Order of Mandatory Interim Injunction restraining the defendants/respondents from recognising any other governorship primaries of the PDP in Osun State.
It ordered the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission not to recognise any other governorship candidate aside from Mr Babayemi. Furthermore, the court stressed that the exercise embarked upon by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP on Saturday at the stadium where Senator Adeleke emerged was null and void.
Justice Aderibigbe further ruled that the action taken by NWC of the party is in flagrant disobedience to its judgement on November 22, 2021, which recognized the ward executive officers who produced delegates for the primaries. It is expected that Senator Adeleke will appeal the decision.