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Osun Election Tribunal: Parties adopt final addresses

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…as panel reserves judgement date

… Adeleke forged certificate, Oyetola’s counsel insist

…Asks Tribunal to declare Oyetola winner after canceling votes of disputed polling units

… There are infractions in 1,750 polling units — INEC counsel

… As Adeleke disowns INEC’s BVAS report

The Osun Election Tribunal sitting in Osogbo, led by Justice Tetsea Kume, on Friday admitted the written addresses of the parties involved in the litigation, after the counsel for All Progressives Congress, APC, Adegboyega Oyetola, and those of Senator Ademola Adeleke, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, argued and adopted their final written addresses before the Tribunal.

This is even as Counsel for Oyetola insisted that Senator Adeleke submitted forged certificates, having submitted a Testimonial purported to have been issued by Ede Muslim Grammar School, bearing Osun State at a time Osun had not been created and another letter of Attestation from Ede Muslim High School, to indicate he attended a secondary school.

The petitioners insisted that if the governor had indeed attended Ede Muslim Grammar School, he could not have presented an Attestation Letter from Ede Muslim High School to show he attended a secondary school.

Making their submissions before the Tribunal, Counsel for Oyetola and APC, led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, noted that the mere fact that INEC did not at any stage indicate that the CTC BVAS report issued to the petitioners was a temporary one or an unsynchronised one, the Tribunal should accept it as the best evidence in the circumstances, adding that the second CTC BVAS report issued to the PDP and Senator Adeleke by INEC was an afterthought, especially because it was sought after the petitioners had filed their petition before the Tribunal.

Prince Fagbemi went further to submit that even in the CTC BVAS report issued to the PDP and Senator Adeleke, there were infractions in over 100 polling units. He therefore urged the Tribunal to declare Oyetola as the winner of the election, after canceling votes from the disputed polling units.

In his own argument, Counsel for INEC, Prof. Paul Ananaba, submitted that there were discrepancies in 1,750 polling units, saying that results of elections are updated on a continuous basis.

He said as at the time the first CTC BVAS report was issued to the petitioners, some “data were still hanging” and that it was the second CTC BVAS report which was synchronised that should be relied upon by the Tribunal.

This is even as Counsel for Adeleke Onyeachi Ikpeazu disowned INEC’s second CTC BVAS report, a document relied upon by INEC at the Tribunal to defend its declaration of Senator Adeleke as the winner of the July 16 governorship election.

Arguing his submission before the Tribunal, Fagbemi said: “I state that it is only Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that is given statutory responsibility to conduct election. I submit that where there is allegation on conduct of election, it is only INEC that has the responsibility to show otherwise.

” The grouse of the petitioners with respect to these grounds, are on the conduct of the election. I submit further that the attempt by 2nd Respondent to discredit Exhibit R.BVR should be discountenance as stated by the 2nd respondent (Adeleke.)

“I submit that we are in a completely new electoral dispensation, unless we know this, we will just be wallowing. I started with concept of over-voting, is different in the present legal regime from the previous legal regime.

“Section 51(2) of Electrical Act, defines over-voting and this clearly is different from the position of Section 33 of the 2011 Electoral Act. Section 47 (2) of the 2022 Electoral Act read together with Clause 20 of the regulation of conduct of election (Exhibit 1) makes the use of BVAS and not Voters’ Register mandatory in order to determine Accredited Voters.

“I submit that Exhibit 2R.RW2 in paragraph 1.2, did not mention any Voter’s Register as part of the documents he used and I submit that witness did not consider it necessary hence his refusal to state that he used same.

“Section 64 (4) of Electoral Act 2022 is the provision of the law that requires the collation by the presiding officer to be satisfied by the number of accredited voters. I submit that the concept of synchronisation is unknown to the Electoral Laws. What it recognises is that where a voter not recognised by the BVAS machine, such a voter will not be allowed to vote. The only occasion where merger of data occurs on two BVAS machines is when two BVAS machines were used at a polling unit and they must be used or done at polling unit level – see paragraph of Exhibits.

“I submit that there was no report of any merger of any BVAS machine data used at polling unit at the election contest. I submit that INEC did not state any date in their pleadings that they used more than one BVAS machine in any polling. The intention of the law i.e Section 64 (4)(a) of the 2022 Electoral Act is that the number of accredited voters must have been ascertained before the declaration of results.

“I submit that under the 2022 Electoral Act, no time was stated for INEC to declare results. I submit that all the parties were unanimous on the date of election that took place on 16th of July, 2022 and declaration of results on 17th July, 2022 and issuance of Certificate of Return to the 2nd Respondent on 20th of July, 2022.

“The question therefore is on what details of accredited voters did INEC did all above? I further submit that RW1 stated in evidence that she issued and certified Exhibit R.BVR and as such, presumption of regularity endures in favour of the Exhibit. The 1st Respondent did not notify the petitioners of any irregularities as same was not recalled by the 1st Respondent.

“I submit that it was after service of the petition on the Respondent that they now resort to an afterthought concept of synchronisation. I submit that if the tribunal allows the concept of synchronisation, it will act to a point that it is INEC and not the electorate that determine the outcome of an election – see paragraph 7.33 to 7.39 of our Final Written Address,” Fagbemi added.

On the issue of Certificate Forgery, the Petitioners’ Counsel argued that “the testimonial shows on its face that or was issued in Osun State in 1988 a whole 3 years before Osun State came into existence. They should have pleaded that they made an error or mistake but that was never done.

“The Judgment of Court of Appeal that I said, they did not prove their case, there is nothing from the Respondent to contradict our evidence. So, the documents tendered in this regards by the witness of the 2nd Respondent (Adeleke) are mere hearsay. When you have no connection to a certificate, you are not the one that issued it, that he was given, the law says ‘No’ to such documents.

“It has no probative value. Any document showing that Osun State is in existence since 1988 is clearly false. Supreme Court says ‘where only document shows it is false, it is clearly false.”

On his part, Counsel for Adeleke, Ikpeazu SAN noted that a clear distinction ought to be maintained between back-end server and the Certified Copy of the extraction from the BVAS machines.

“Contrary to the submission of the Petitioners, RWl confirmed a physical inspection of the BVAS based on the Order of Court for same to be extracted. It is on this pedestal that the case of the 2nd Respondent (Adeleke) was mounted.

“2nd Respondent (Adeleke) is not bound by the case of the 1st Respondent (INEC) which was found as the second BVAS report which was labelled synchronised but which was not a comprehensive one from the BVAS machines themselves.

“The 2nd Respondent (Adeleke) is not bound by evidence led by the 1st Respondent (INEC) which is an independent body. The second Respondent presented a unique case which is founded based on Evidence Rule by relying on the physical and primary source of all capture of accreditations that were made on the day of the election itself.”

After listening to all the arguments, the Tribunal rose at exactly 7. 30pm and adjourned for judgement on a date it said would be communicated to all parties.

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Mimiko’s younger brother joins guber race in Ondo

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By Akintunde Jacobs, Akure

Abass Mimiko, a  younger brother to the former governor  of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, has emerged as the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the forthcoming November 16 governorship election in the state.

Mimiko, who emerged the candidate through affirmation in the primary election of the party held on Wednesday at the state party secretariat in Akure, the state capital, said he was going to focus more on education, health, economy and security of the state if elected as the next governor of Ondo State.

According to him, “We are a forced to be reckoned with in this election, we will ensure food security within a year of our being in the office, we will have surplus of food in Ondo State, we will ensure affordable quality education, industrialisation housing , free health services for all residents are  part of our programmes.”

He, however, said his brother, Olusegun Mimiko has thrown his weight behind him in his aspiration to become the next governor of the state.

In his remarks, the National Secretary of the party, Yahaya Wakama said the party was ready to take over the state from the ruling party, urging the members to work hard in order to achieve this.

“Let me remind us however that the days ahead will be even more demanding and disturbing. The signs of what we should expect are already here, harassment, attacks and economic strangulation are some of the weapons that the ruling party will wield in their attempt to prevent the people’s will. But we cannot give up.

“We must resolve to snatch our state from the jaws of death and the predators whose only desire is to sink the ship of state. We must remain the voices of our people and work for their betterment,” Wakama said.

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Edo Guber: INEC final list unsettles LP leadership

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…As Dep. Governorship candidate’s name is missing

By Elvis Omoregie, Benin

The final list of candidates for the upcoming governorship election in Edo state as published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has unsettled the leadership of the Edo State Chapter of the Labour Party (LP).

The party has faulted the electoral body for omitting the name of its validly nominated running mate, Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri, (SAN) instead of Oluyinka Faith Alufohai who was listed by the electoral body.

Recall on April 19, it was reported that Labour Party governorship candidate in the September 21 gubernatorial election, Olumide Akpata dropped Oluyinka Faith Alufohai and picked Alhaji Asamah Yusuf Kadiri, SAN as the deputy governorship candidate of the party.

In a press statement by Comrade Kelly Ogbaloi, State chairman LP, made available to journalists in Benin City, he assured party members and supporters that “this is simply a technical error.”

According to Comrade Ogbaloi, “Our team followed all necessary procedures and submitted Alhaji Kadiri’s name and credentials as the deputy governorship candidate, well within INEC’s stipulated window. Unfortunately, a technical glitch occurred at the end of the National Headquarters of our party during the submission process, resulting in the incorrect name appearing on the final list.

“We are currently actively engaged with INEC officials to rectify this issue immediately and our team has provided all requisite documentation demonstrating Alhaji Kadiri’s valid nomination. We have been following-up with INEC diligently, to ensure it updates its candidate list with the accurate information.

“We recognise the anxiety this error may cause, but urge our supporters to remain calm and steadfast in their commitment to our party’s vision. Your unwavering support and activism have been invaluable thus far, and we need you to continue spreading awareness of our platform and championing the positive change we represent.

“The Labour Party is determined to contest the forthcoming September 21, Edo State Governorship elections fairly and transparently. We should not allow this minor administrative hurdle to dampen our confidence or impede our momentum. Together, we shall overcome any obstacle, minor or major, as we continue our march towards restoring Edo State to its pride of place nationally.”

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Ganduje lauds Ododo over Ondo State governorship primaries

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, has lauded Gov. Ahmed Ododo of Kogi over the successful conduct of the Ondo State Governorship primaries of the party.

Ganduje stated this when he received the report of the State Governorship Primary Election Committee from Ododo in Abuja on Tuesday.

He also commended members of the committee for a job well done.

“You have made history because this is your first national assignment outside Kogi, we thank you and your members for giving the assignment your best.

“On our part, we followed the Constitution to ensure that no loophole was observed during the exercise, I followed you and your team closely from our observation room.

“And you followed the procedure from the collation, this report is very important to us, we will study it and there after, a Certificate of Return will be issued to the winner of the primary,” he said.

The National Chairman called on the other aspirants and the party’s stakeholders to join forces with the winner of the primary election, Gov. Lucky Ayedatiwa, to ensure total victory at the Nov. 16 governorship election.

Earlier, Ododo thanked members of the party in the state for their cooperation and support, expressing optimism that the APC would record landslide victory in the election.

He also called on other aspirants to and join forces with Ayedatiwa, to ensure the party’s victory in the election.

“I hereby submit the results confirmed from 18 Local Government Areas of the state, which covered the whole activities that happened during the primaries, the aspirants and their votes.

“I thank the party’s leadership for giving the committee the opportunity to serve, I am ready to perform in any other national assignments in future,” he said.

Aiyedatiwa got 48,569 votes to beat his closest rival Mayowa Akinfolarin, who polled 15,343 votes in the election, while Olusola Oke came third with 14,865 votes.

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