Many people, particularly the politicians, were only aware of the Tribunal proceedings that ended up with a victory today for Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN at the Governorship Election Tribunal. Only a few knew that there was also a judgment delivered in the Governor’s favour in another pre-election case filed against him at the Federal High Court Akure Division. On 23rd October, 2021, a group of 13 political parties deregistered by INEC approached the Federal High Court, praying for the nullification of Governor Akeredolu’s election on ground of their alleged unlawful exclusion from the 10th October 2020 Governorship election in Ondo. The deregistered political parties had earlier obtained a Court of Appeal judgment which declared their deregistration unlaw ful. The said Court of Appeal judgment was delivered long before the election. Counsel to Akeredolu at the Federal High Court, Dr Remi Olatubora,SAN raised objections to the competence of the action and the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, on sundry grounds, including the ground that the action being a pre-election matter was statute barred. Although Hon Justice Abdul Dogo of the Akure Federal High Court insisted on hearing the case on the merit, in his judgment which was delivered via Zoom today, His Lordship upheld Olatubora’s preliminary objection and held that the action was statute barred. Justices Dogo, in his judgment berated the Claimants for presenting a useless, stale and statute barred case against the Governor. Thee verdict of the Federal High Court came a few. minutes before the Election Tribunal judgment of today; a development which led Akeredolu’s lawyer, Dr Remi Olatubora, SAN to characterize the Governor’s victory as “2-0 goals to nothing”.

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