Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta.
Mr Sotayo Johnson arrested for alleged vote buying during last month governorship election by operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and an Allied People’s Movement (APM) candidate for Ogun State House of Assembly representing Abeokuta South 1state constituency has challenged the victory of Adejojo Temitope of All Progressives Congress (APC) who was declared winner of the seat by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Sotayo Johnson said Temitope of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the poll.
He, therefore, asked the National/State House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him certificate of return as the duly elected lawmaker.
Sotayo prayed that in the alternative, the election into Abeokuta South I state constituency should be nullified and a fresh election ordered.
In the petition marked EPT/09/HASS/11/2019, Sotayo listed INEC, Temitope and APC as first, second and third respondents respectively.
It will be recalled that EFCC operatives apprehended Sotayo during the election with huge sums of money stashed in bags at a polling unit in Ijaiye Park, Abeokuta.
Though the APM candidate was subsequently whisked to an unknown destination, our Correspondent gathered that he had since been placed on administrative bail by the anti-graft agency.
The electoral commission had declared Temitope winner of the election, saying the APC candidate polled 8,142 votes as against the 7,879 votes scored by the APM candidate.
But in his petition, Sotayo argued that the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.
He stated that contrary to the result declared by INEC, it was the first petitioner (Johnson Sotayo) who indeed won the majority of lawful votes cast, hence ought to have been declared winner and returned as the duly elected member.
The APM candidate claimed there was over-voting in some polling units which gave the second and third respondents undue advantage over him.
He added that there were unlawful votes during the election because proper accounting of ballot papers was not done.
Sotayo also alleged that INEC officials allowed persons not registered at particular polling units to use Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) not meant for those polling units to vote.
Reacting to the petition against his election, Temitope said he was surprised that his opponent had the effrontery to approach the tribunal.
The APC candidate said in a sane society, a politician who was arrested for vote buying would be in jail by now, urging the security agencies to do the needful concerning the matter.
Temitope said, “I am surprised that he (Johnson) had the effrontery to challenge my election at the tribunal. In a sane society, he would have been put in jail having been arrested for vote buying during the House of Assembly election.
“But I am not perturbed in any way. I believe the judiciary is up to the task to dispense justice accordingly. However, I am putting the security agencies on notice to do the needful concerning the matter.”