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Akinlade Loses To APC Candidate, Abiodun At Ogun Governorship Tribunal

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The Ogun state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital has upheld the election of Prince Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC)  as the authentic winner of the guber election held in the state on March 9, 2019.

In its judgement delivered in Abeokuta, the three-man Tribunal headed by Justice Yusuf Halilu struck out the petition filled by the candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM)  Hon. Adekunle Akinlade against Governor Abiodun on the ground that the petitioner failed, “woefully” and “irredeemably” to discharge the burden of proof of the allegations contained in his petition.

Akinlade who was the first petitioner in a petition marked EPT/OG/GOV/01/19 had approached the Tribunal, praying it to nullify the declaration of Abiodun as the duly elected winner of the March 9 governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on two grounds.

Praying the Tribunal to declare him as the winner of the Ogun guber election, the APM candidate alleged that Governor Abiodun falsified documents submitted to INEC about his qualification and that the election was marred with over voting in many polling units across the state.

Akinlade alleged that Abiodun in his Form CF001 submitted before INEC contained false information, adding that the electoral body aided his qualification through the form.

The petitioner posited that the alleged false information was fundamental in nature to Abiodun’s qualification to contest March 9 election.

But delivering judgment, the Justice Halilu-led three-man Tribunal in a judgment which lasted over five hours, unanimously held that the issues of false information was pre-election matter that had been decided by the Court of Appeal.

The Tribunal also described the evidences given by the petitioner’s witnesses as “lazy, shallow and deficient.”

The tribunal said the inability of the petitioner to bring up sufficient witnesses to bring up evidences had done “irredeemable damage” to the petition.

On the issue of over voting, the tribunal said the petitioner only presented 34 polling units agents out of 1,000 polling units where illegalities and irregularities were alleged.

The panel further held that petitioner witnesses failed to tender smart card reports and the voter’s register to justify alleged irregularities at the polling.

The Panel averred that, “The petitioner failed woefully to prove that the respondent did not score the majority of lawful votes cast and we so hold this petition is destined to fail, it failed and it is hereby dismissed.”

The tribunal had earlier in the day quashed the issues while delivering its rulings on two preliminary objections.

The panel in a unanimous ruling held that the matter was a pre-election matter which ought to have been challenged within 14 days Form CF001 was submitted to the INEC.

Reacting to the judgment however, Governor Abiodun, described the Tribunal’s judgement as the triumph of the rule of law; victory for democracy and further validation of the mandate bestowed on him at the polls.

The highly elated Abiodun said he remained magnanimous in victory and extended, once again, a hand of fellowship to all opposition elements in the state, calling  on the opposition Allied Peoples Movement (APM) to forget about 2019 gubernatorial elections and join hands with his government on its  “Building Our Future Together” agenda.

He also advised Akinlade, all members of APM and  members of other parties to  join APC,  saying the people have spoken and the Tribunal has validated their choice of him even as he urged those who are still aggrieved to learn that democracy is about majority rule.

According to the successful entrepreneur, real estate player and oil magnate, whosoever feels otherwise about the verdict of the Tribunal should start preparing for 2023 and forget about 2019.

 

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