The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the Osun State governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has urged the State Governorship Election Tribunal to uphold their petition and declare their candidate winner of the Saturday, September 22, 2018, election.
Adeleke made the plea after the governor of the state, Isiaka Oyetola, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition which he described as a bedlam full of confusion
The petition filed before the Tribunal sitting at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Apo District, Abuja by the PDP and its candidate challenged the declaration of Oyetola as the winner of the contentious gubernatorial election in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Joined as respondents in the petition are INEC, Governor Oyetola and APC.
PDP and Adeleke alleged that the election was marred by massive rigging, overvoting, vote buying and other forms of election malpractices. They also alleged that the election was not conducted by INEC in compliance with the law.
Counsel for INEC at the Tribunal, Lasco Pwahomdi, urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition with a substantial cost in favour of the electoral body.
Pwahomdi argued that the petitioners had woefully failed to establish the Petition as required by the law.
Counsel for Oyetola, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), while adopting his final written address, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition which was when he said it was a bedlam full of confusions.
The senior counsel argued that the petitioners’ final written address draws the tribunal’s attention to the futility of the petition, adding that the petitioners present a different case from what is contained in their pleadings and reliefs sought.
He stated that the petitioners had hoped for the nullification of the certificate of return issued to Governor Oyetola by the Tribunal, which they said was with the second respondent, yet did not give him any notice to produce it.
He told the tribunal that based on the ruling of the presidential election tribunal in its Wednesday, March 6 ruling, the provision of Section 105 of the Electoral Act restricts the power of the tribunal.
The senior advocate stated that electoral jurisprudence was about proof in accordance with the law and precedence.
While urging the tribunal to dismiss the petition, Olanipekun stated that the petitioners asked for something in their petition but stated another thing in their address, adding that the petition was full of confusions.
On his part, the APC counsel, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), stated that the testimonies of all the 63 polling agents called by the petitioners had no probative value.
He added that the remaining witnesses called by the petitioners have nothing to do with polling units.
Olujinmi further argued that the petitioners dumped documents on the tribunal, while the plethora of authorities held that one cannot dump documents on the court and say they speak for themselves.
He stated that the petitioners wanted to be declared the winners of the election, yet they failed to produce any return made, declaring that they had no cause for action as the had dismissed the September 22, 2018 rerun election in the state.
Responding to the arguments of the respondents, counsel for the petitioners, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), urged the tribunal to grant the reliefs sought by the petitioners and uphold the petition of the petitioners.
He stated that based on the result of the election of September 22, 2018, the first petitioner, Senator Adeleke, had satisfied the provisions of the law and ought to have been declared the winner of the election.
The senior counsel stated that the petitioners did not dump documents on the tribunal as claimed by Olujinmi, saying that the documents were sufficiently demonstrated by witnesses called by the petitioners while testifying before the tribunal.
He stated that the petitioners tendered the pink copies of result sheets as well as the certified true copies (CTCs) of the original sheets which were doctored, altered and mutilated and clearly showed discrepancies to the pink copies.
Ikpeazu told the tribunal that INEC should defend the irregularities reported by the petitioners.
He added that while the returning officer could not act beyond the provision if the law, the electoral body could not act outside of the provision of Section 179 of the Electoral Act.
After listening to the submissions of parties, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sirajo Ibrahim Mohammed, adjourned judgment till a date that he said would be communicated to parties.