Senator Smart Adeyemi, one of the aggrieved aspirants in the aftermath of the April 14, 2023 governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, is under severe pressure from party stalwarts to consider a ceasefire.
The development followed the judgement of the Appeal Court, Abuja last Friday, which dismissed appeals by Adeyemi and another aspirant, Abubakar Achimugu, seeking to nullify the primary election of the APC which produced Usman Ododo as the party’s flagbearer for the November 11, 2023 governorship election.
Notable political actors in the ruling party within and outside Kogi State reportedly met with Adeyemi in Abuja “to press him to let bygones be bygones”.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the move by the APC national secretariat was part of renewed reconciliatory efforts to start a result oriented public engagement, and to look into areas where there seems to be problems.
A source said the national leadership of the APC under the new national chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, was leaving no stones unturned to avoid uncoordinated and disjointed approach to the campaigns leading to the governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states in order to ensure victory for the party in the three states.
“One of the major areas of concern that the party was looking to nip in the bud are the cases in court by Senator Smart Adeyemi and another aggrieved governorship aspirant, Abubakar Achimugu in Kogi State”, the source noted.
Ododo was declared winner of the direct primary election of the APC held across Kogi State on April 14 2023.
According to Patrick Obahiagbon, secretary of the Kogi APC primary election committee, Ododo scored a total of 78,704 votes to win the primary election with a wide margin while defeating six other contestants, including Adeyemi who got 311 votes.
But Adeyemi and four other aspirants had argued that no primaries took place anywhere in the state. They insisted the result displayed by the electoral committee was mere allocation of votes.
Adeyemi had approached the federal high court, Abuja insisting that the primary election, which produced Ododo ran foul of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution and also contrary to Section 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, as well as Article 20 of the APC constitution.
However, on August 18, the Court of Appeal upheld the of Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja delivered on July 12, which had held that the appellants did not prove their allegations that Ododo was not lawfully nominated by the APC.
It was gathered that the latest move to reconcile Adeyemi and Ododo was informed by Adeyemi’s recalcitrance even after the appellate court judgment.
Adeyemi was said to have told his lawyers to proceed to the supreme court.
According to a source close to Adeyemi, “The Appeal Court has ruled and as a democrat and law-abiding senior citizen, the Distinguished Senator Smart Adeyemi welcomes the decision of the appellate court. But the appeal court is not the final arbiter (in this case).
Don’t forget that Nigerians have witnessed instances where cases were lost at the high court and at the appeal court but the decisions of the lower courts were overturned by the supreme court.
So, without hesitation, he has told his lawyers to prepare to proceed to the apex court. However, as we speak, political actors within and outside the Kogi chapter of the APC continued to mount pressure on him not to proceed to the supreme court.”