The Oasis Reporters
September 17, 2019
The break out of chants of joy from jubilant crowds at the Gubernatorial Elections Petitions Tribunal venue in Ibadan, Monday was indicative of the fact that the judgement affirming Seyi Makinde of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP as duly elected governor of Oyo state, was a righteous one.
Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had filed a petition against Makinde in the March 9 governorship election held in the state, against the backdrop of the angst the people had against who they believed was the immediate godfather of the candidate. Then outgoing Governor Abiola Ajimobi easily fingered as Adebayo Adelabu’s political sponsor had been humiliated at the Senatorial election poll with a resounding defeat. He was previously a Senator before he did a cumulative 8 years as governor for two terms, and still wanted to retire to the Senate, seen as a monopolistic tendency and a sign that outside of political office, he’d be unable to function productively . Even as many consider his service in many areas as mediocre.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adelabu and his party APC challenged the declaration of Makinde by INEC as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in Oyo State.
Makinde polled 515,621 votes to defeat his closest rival, Adelabu who had 357,982 votes while PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are also respondents.
The petitioners said that Makinde was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes, adding that election was marred by over voting and failure to comply with the provision of the Electoral Act.
Adelabu, therefore, prayed the tribunal to declare him the winner of the election, adding that he scored the highest number of lawful votes or alternatively, the tribunal should nullify the election and order a rerun.
The Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Muhammed Sirajo who delivered the unanimous judgment said the testimonies of the ward and local government agents, called by the petitioners could not be relied on.
According to the tribunal, the agents were not speaking the truth but and only relied on what they were told by the polling units agents
He said that 32 pieces of evidence, out of the 69 witnesses called by the petitioners were hearsay because the petitioners were ward and local government collation agents while the remaining 37 were polling unit agents.
Sirajo said that the petitioners called 69 witnesses and tendered 4,164 exhibits while the respondents called 15 witnesses, adding that the testimony of an eye witness must come from the polling unit agents who witnessed all that happened from the beginning to the end during the election.
The tribunal said that the petitioners also failed to tender necessary documents that would assist members of the tribunal in proving ballot paper accounting.
He said that it was not only the responsibilities of petitioners to tender documents but also to prove that the alleged irregularities in the election substantially affected the outcome of the election.
Sirajo said that the petitioners failed to prove that the respondents were not validly elected by the majority of lawful votes.
“The petitioner failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance, non-accreditation, over voting and corrupt practices that would warrant the tribunal to nullify the election” he said.
Sirajo, who said that the petition lacked merit and stood dismissed, awarded N200, 000 costs against the petitioners.
In an interview, the counsel to the petitioners, Mr Akin Oladeji, said they would decide on the next line of action after studying the judgment.
Many analysts believe however, that there’s a likelihood that Adelabu could head to the Court of Appeal, in the hope that Osun “miracle” might happen to him via a legal or an unforeseen technicality.
Additional reporting: NAN