…… petitions dismissed as lazy, mischievous
After five months of legal fireworks, Ogun Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday won the judicial victory as the Election Petitions Tribunal confirmed him the winner of the February 2019 governorship poll.
The Justice Yusuf Halilu-led tribunal gave Abiodun victory after it reserved judgment on August 19 following the adoption of written addresses by both parties.
Both Abiodun and Akinlade were not in court.
Persecondnews recalls that Abiodun had polled 241,670 votes representing 35.49 per cent of the total votes to defeat the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, who scored 222, 153 votes about 32.62 per cent, according to results posted by INEC on March 11.
Abiodun’s challenger, Akinlade, a former House of Representatives member, lost all grounds in the petitions as he querried his academic qualification and age.
Akinlade, sponsored by the immediate governor of Ogun, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, whose supporters defected from APC to APM under his watch in the wake of disputed primaries, asked the tribunal to declare fresh polls, alleging widespread irregularities.
INEC on its part as the first respondent, insisted that Abiodun won the election and asked the tribunal to dismiss the petitions, describing them as fallacious and mischievous.
While dismissing the petitions on age and certificate falsification, the tribunal also described them as “lazy, fictitious, malicious, and mischievous.’’
“We canot waste valuable time of the Tribunal on irrelvant documents on over-voting.’’
Persecondnews reports that the tribunal also made jest of APM candidate for their faikure to call witnesses in the disputed polling units.
APM is challenging results from 1070 polling units but called just 36 polling agents and three others including Akinlade, who claimed that he monitored the election using technology.
The judge said:“It is unreasonable to do such and expect meaningful judgment.’’
On Abiodun’s qualification who tendered WAEC certificate instead of first degree for allegedly failing to do National Youth Service, the tribunal dismissed it as a pre-election issueand that the petitioner ought to have filed their case within 14 days.
It cited Section 285 (9) of the Electoral Act and referred the petitioner to the Appeal Court’s ruling on Abiodun’s age falsification.
Dignitaries at the court session include a former Ogun deputy governor, Senator Adegbega Kaka, another ex-deputy governor, Mr Segun Adesegun, Speaker of Ogun House of Assembly, Mr Olakunke Oluomo and Chief of Staff to Gov. Abiodun, Alhaji Salisu Shuaib.
The tribunal sitting which began at 10.15am ended at 2.38pm.
However, there was an indication that Akinlade may appeal the judgment according to his close aides.