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By Unini Chioma 

The All Progressives Congress, APC has asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, to transfer the case filed by the defeated governorship aspirant, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, from Abuja to Ondo State, being the venue of the primary election subject matter of the suit.

This is contained in a letter written to the Chief Judge by counsel to APC, sued as the 1st Respondent in the suit. Senator Jimoh Ibrahim instituted the suit at the Abuja Division of the Court on May 3, 2024, seeking to void the primary election that produced Governor Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa as the candidate of the party for the November election. Sued in the suit as defendants are the APC, Governor Aiyedatiwa and INEC.

The suit came up for mention today May 14, 2024 before Justice Inyang Ekwo. Senator Jimoh Ibrahim was represented by Chief Chris Uche, SAN while APC was represented by Tayo Oyetibo, SAN leading Matthew Burka, SAN, Sunusi, SAN, Professor Abdulkareem Gana, the National Legal Adviser of APC, Senator Ajibola Bashiru, the National Secretary of APC and other lawyers. Bode Olanipekun, SAN stood in for Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN for Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, leading Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN while Chief Charles Edosomwan, SAN, with Suleiman, SAN, represented INEC.

When the case was mentioned, counsel to the Plaintiff, Chief Chris Uche, SAN informed the Court that all the defendants have been served with the Originating Summons although their time to file their defences is still running. Tayo Oyetibo, SAN confirmed service on the APC and informed the Court that he had filed a Memorandum of Conditional Appearance and he is still within the time permitted by the Rules of the Court to file his defence. He also informed the Court that a letter dated May 13, 2024 had been written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court requesting transfer of the case to the Akure Division, in compliance with the extant Practice Direction issued by the Chief Judge regulating the venue of hearing of pre-election cases, which must be heard and determined in the judicial division where the election took place, which by the case of the Plaintiff, is Akure. He urged the court to await the decision of the Chief Judge on the letter.

Bode Olanipekun, SAN confirmed service of the originating summons on Governor Aiyedatiwa on May 9, 2024 by substituted means and he is still within time to file his defence. He aligned himself with the argument of Oyetibo, SAN on the need to transfer the case to the Akure Division where the primary election took place. On behalf of INEC, Chief Charles Edosomwan, SAN confirmed service of the originating summons on INEC on May 8, 2024 and he is still within time to file his defence. He also concurred with the position of Oyetibo, SAN on the need to transfer the case to Akure.

After listening to the arguments of counsel to the parties, Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the case to May 29, 2024, for mention.

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