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As Tofowomo says ‘temi ni PDP ticket yen’ (the PDP ticket is mine)

The immediate past deputy governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, has landed in court over alleged academic scandals.

The suit was filed at the Federal High Court in Akure, Ondo State, by Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, the Senator representing Ondo South at the Senate against Ajayi’s controversial academic records for the 2023 senatorial election.

Starnews Nigeria reports that Tofowomo, the PDP Senator also prayed the court to nullify the candidacy of Ajayi over alleged perjury.

The Lawmaker wants Ajayi’s nomination as the PDP SENATORIAL CANDIDATE for Ondo South nullified on the grounds that he lied on oath in his form, which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for clearance for the poll.

Hon. Ajayi is joined in the suit as the first defendant, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are second and third Defendants respectively.

In a suit number: FHC/CS/AK/ 83 /2022 filed on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, Senator Tofowomo who came second in the PDP senatorial primary, said Agboola did not meet the constitutional requirements for contesting the 2023 general election as contained in the interpretation and application of Section 66(1)(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Section 29(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as other relevant laws.

Tofowomo through his lawyer, Mr Femi Emodamori, claimed that the court should determine if together with the totality of the facts before the Court, the 1st Defendant (Agboola) did not present false information and/or forged certificate(s) in his INEC Form EC9 and the other documents attached thereto which he submitted to the 3rd Defendant (INEC) as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 General Election.

“I verily believe that the 1st Defendant (Agboola) lied and/or swore to false information when he stated in Exhibit FEE4 (the Affidavit For Correction of Date of Birth which he submitted to the 3rd Defendant) that he was issued the 2004 WASSC (Exhibit FEE3) No. NGWASSCS 5529745 and claimed, “that in the said Certificate my date of birth was mistakenly printed as December 8, 1980, instead of 24th September 1968”.

The Senator also stated that “Whether, having regard to Section 29 (6) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 1st Defendant (Agboola) should be disqualified as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant (PDP) for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 General Election.

In the court papers sighted by Starnews Nigeria,

Senator Tofowomo seeks the following prayers: “A DECLARATION that having regard to S.66(1)(i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), S.29(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and judicial authorities which include the Supreme Court decisions in MODIBBO V USMAN (2020) 3 NWLR (PT. 1712) 470 and PDP V. DEGI-EREMIENYO (2021) 9 NWLR (PT. 1781) 274.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court disqualifying the 1st Defendant as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court declaring the Plaintiff, having scored the 2nd highest number of votes in the 2nd Defendant’s Primary Election for Ondo South Senatorial District held on 23rd May 2023, as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant for the said Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections.

“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court directing the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to substitute the Plaintiff for the 1st Defendant as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant for Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2023 General Elections,” Tofowomo prayed the court.

Ajayi defeated the incumbent Senator with 4 votes to win the PDP’s senate ticket for Ondo South ahead of the 2023 national assembly elections when he polled 78 votes against Tofowomo who polled 74 votes.

Asked why he was in court after congratulating Ajayi, Senator Tofowomo said “Temi ni PDP ticket yen”, meaning the PDP ticket is mine. He however promised to address the press later to explain why he dragged the former deputy governor to court and why he said the PDP ticket belongs to him.

See below excerpts:

Journalists: Sir, you congratulated Agboola Ajayi after he was declared winner of the PDP primary but today you are in court to challenge his victory, why?

Senator Tofowomo: “Temi ni PDP ticket yen” (The ticket is mine). Temi ni, but at the appropriate time, I will address the press to explain to my people what went wrong and I will give reasons for this action by then. Thank you.”

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