Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
The National and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Friday affirmed the victory of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olakunle Oluomo representing Ifo constituency 1 as the winner of the election held on Saturday, March 9.
The tribunal also upheld the election of Hon Atinuke Bello, representing Odogbolu local government and the Chief Whip of the assembly as well as that of Hon Abdulbashir Oladunjoye of APC representing Sagamu constituency 1 and that of Hon Yusuf Amosun of Allied People’s Movement (APM) representing Ewekoro constituency
The three-member Tribunal, led by Justice Adenike Josephine Coker dismissed the petition filed by Hon. Oluwawemimo Olutobi of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) challenging the victory of Oluomo, saying the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
Olutobi had filed a petition numbered, EPT/OG/HASS/13/19 to challenge the declaration of Oluomo as the winner of the Ifo 1 State constituency by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The petitioner, who joined Oluomo in the case as the second respondent and INEC as the first respondent, alleged that Oluomo was not dully elected on the grounds of over-voting, noncompliance and illegal use of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and prayed the Tribunal to nullify Oluomo’s election and order a re-run as an alternative.
But Justice Coker while delivering her judgment said, the tribunal had no other option than to rule that the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
The tribunal held that the petitioner did not produce enough evidence to prove his case, saying “The evidence provided by the petitioner is insufficient” and awarded a N400,000 cost against the petitioner.
Justice Coker maintained that the petitioner did not produce any voters’ register in any of the voting units he alleged irregularities and that the petitioner placed more reliance on the smart card readers instead of the voter’s register.
Her words, “This tribunal cannot solely rely on the smart card readers as evidence, therefore the tribunal has no other option than to submit that the petitioner failed to prove his case on over-voting.”
Justice Coker also held that there was no evidence by the petitioner to show that there were discrepancy in the election.
Oluomo in his reaction to the judgement appealed to the members of the opposition-APM to join hands in the effort to move the State forward.
His words, “I dedicate the victory both at the poll and at the tribunal to God and the good people of Ifo 1 State constituency and finally to the Governor (Prince Dapo Abiodun) for the support so far.”
For me and my other colleagues who also won at the tribunal, we are rededicating ourselves to serve the people better and the more now that the cases are no longer there.”
Speaking on whether the petition has been a distraction to him, Oluomo said, “It should be somehow because nobody will have a case in court and go to sleep. You don’t rely on your own strength, so when somebody challenge you, you must be ready, you get your lawyers, you get your witnesses and you get a lot of things to debunk it.”., former Gov. James Ibori has cautioned against distractions in the State, just as he disclosed that Urhobo nation would produce the next governor come 2023.
Chief Ibori among others party Stakeholders Chief Ibori disclosed this at the weekend when he played host to Delta Central PDP stakeholders in his Oghara country home, explained that he called the meeting to officially thanked the Party from the district for voting enmass for PDP, especially for Okowa reelection noted that if for anything the party need to be grateful for winning the governorship.
The purpose of the meeting is for me to formally thank you all for listening to me and voted for our Governor and all PDP candidates in the district”