Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that Prince Dapo Abiodun of All Progressives Congress (APC) won March 9, 2019 Ogun State gubernatorial election
The counsel to INEC, Barr. Teslim Adewuyi stated this on Monday while adopting his final written address at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta.
The governorship candidate of Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Hon. Adekunle Akinlade had in a petition marked EPT/OG/GOV/01/2019 challenged the March 9 governorship election in the state and urged the court to cancel the election for alleged over voting and falsification of documents.
But, the electoral umpire explained that, the report of alleged over voting by the petitioner were not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Barr. Adewuyi maintained that, the 34 witnesses presented by the petitioner in 142 polling units were not substantial enough to invalidate the result of the election.
Also speaking on the falsification of education credentials, the lead counsel to Prince Dapo Abiodun who is the second respondent, Professor Taiwo Osipitan said there was no iota justification to identify falsification of academic documents before the tribunal.
Osipitan explained further that, the second respondent did not claimed to have graduated from University of Ife in the nomination form.
He said the petitioner’s claim of credentials falsification was not relevant with the 2019 election matter, saying the section 138 sub-section (1e) of the 2010 electoral Act cited by the petitioner in the final written address was in conflict with the Nigerian constitution and was not enough to call for cancellation of the election in the 142 polling units.
According to him, the provision of the constitution supersedes any Act that is in conflict with the constitution.
“My Lord, the petitioner claimed that the second respondent presented a false information in the forms CF 001 that he went to OAU. The second respondent never claimed to have graduated from University of Ife, but said he only attended the University which the University’s authority or registrar has not denied. There’s different between graduating from University and attending a university. INEC didn’t ask if he graduated from OAU. They only asked the school he attended which he went further to say he attended OAU.
“So, the petitioner have failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that, there was inconsistency in the nomination form, because the cited false information was not relevant with the 2019 election and should be dead on arrival and be given a befitting burial. The call for false information only exist in the petitioners imagination.”
Osipitan therefore expressed optimism that, the second respondent will triumph at the tribunal.
Meanwhile, the tribunal chairman, Justice Yusuf Halilu said the judgement date would be communicated to the lead counsels of the petitioners and respondents.