The Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday struck out the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu challenging the victory of governor Dapo Abiodun at the March 18 election.
The Tribunal in a judgement that lasted for over 11 hours declared Abiodun as the duly elected governor of the state.
The three-man panel headed by Justice Hamidu Kunaza in a unanimous judgement held that Adebutu and PDP’s petition was “incompetent, defective, disjunctive and lack merits”.
PDP and Adebutu had dragged Abiodun and APC before the Tribunal, alleging that the governor did not win the majority of votes cast during the March 18 governorship election.
PDP and Adebutu in the petition marked, EPT/OG/GOV/03/2023 accused the INEC of non-compliance to the Electoral Act and corrupt practices during the election.
The petitioners also alleged that elections were disrupted by thugs in over 99 polling units, disenfranchising over 40,000 voters from participating in the election.
But the judges held that the petitioners failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt, the allegations of non-compliance, overvoting, disenfranchisement of voters and corrupt practices during the polls.
Reading the judgement, Kunaza held that the petitioners failed to prove the fact of their case, saying “On the whole the petitioners have not successfully prove the allegation of non compliance with the electoral act and have not discharge the burden of prove”.
On disenfranchisement, the Tribunal held that there was no direct evidence to prove that the voters were disenfranchised.
Kunaza maintained that the disenfranchised voters must testify that they were ready to vote; if they were allowed to vote their candidate would have won; and that they had their voters’ cards and were registered voters.
On alleged corrupt practices, the Tribunal insisted that none of the witnesses could not establish the allegation of corrupt practices against the second respondent (Abiodun).
On the ground calling for the disqualification of Abiodun due to criminal records, the court declared that the petitioners failed to show that the second respondent (Abiodun) have been tried, arraigned and convicted in the US.
In his final judgement, Kunaza said, “I uphold the election of Dapo Abiodun as the dully elected governor of Ogun State in the March 18 election.”
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