Kamarudeen Ogundele, Abuja
A Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday set aside its judgment, which recognised Senator Festus Bode-Ola as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for Ekiti Central.
Justice Abdul Kafarati held that he was misled by the former lawyer to Ola.
He said the court provided 30 days within which a party should enter an appearance, adding that Ola’s counsel did not comply with this.
Justice Kafarati said: "I hold that the judgment entered on March 17 is hereby set aside.
‘’Although this is a pre-election matter, which must be heard expeditiously, parties must be heard on merit."
The matter was adjourned till April 18 for hearing on merit.
Justice Kafarati had, on March 21, declared that the authentic list of nominated candidates of the party was that containing Ola’s name.
The defendants are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the ACN.
He gave the declaration upon reading Ola’s Affidavit and after listening to his lawyer, Mr. A. A. Williams.
The judge said the party did not file any counter-affidavit to the deposition of the plaintiff.
But the party, through Ojudu’s lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, told the court yesterday that Ola misled the court into delivering the judgment.
The senator had told the court that he won the indirect primaries but failed to include the party’s nominated candidate Mr. Babafemi Ojudu in the suit.
ACN said the purported results of the primary shown to the court by Ola was not from INEC as he claimed.
Falana said on March 16 when the matter first came up, a lawyer, Mr. Lanrewaju Bankole, entered appearance for the party without its knowledge and consent as it had not been served the court’s processes.
Falana urged the court to recommend the senator and his lawyers to the appropriate authority for investigation, since INEC had declared the documents relied upon by the senator as forged.
Ola opposed the application setting aside the court’s judgment.
He said Justice Kafarati could not sit on appeal on his judgment as the Federal High Court was not an appellate court.
Justice Kafarati will deliver ruling in the matter today.