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Akeredolu Emerges Victorious as Ondo Tribunal Dismisses Jegede’s Petition

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The Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure, on Tuesday, dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, against the winner of the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu.

Justice Umar Abubakar led Tribunal struck out the petition for want of jurisdiction.

The Justice Umar Abubakar led three-man panel ruled that; “issue raised therein in this petition are settled, issue of internal affairs and management of a political party which this Tribunal has no jurisdiction.”

(INEC) declared Akeredolu the winner of the last year’s governorship election having polled the highest lawful votes to defeat Jegede of the PDP and former Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

Displeased with the outcome of the election, Jegede through his Counsel, Mr Onyeksasi Ikpeasu (SAN) challenged the victory of Akeredolu at the poll.

However, delivering judgement virtually in Akure, the chairman of the three-member panel Justice Umar Abubakar said that the “Issue raised therein in this petition are settled issue of internal affairs and management of a political party which this Tribunal has no jurisdiction.”

The tribunal ruled that Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his Deputy Lucky Aiyedatiwa were duly nominated and sponsored by the APC in line with section 177 of the constitution and section 31 of the Electoral Act.

“The Tribunal cannot determine whether mai Bala Buni, the governor of Yobe state is illegally occupying the seat of Caretaker chairman of the planning committee of the extraordinary convention of the APC, ” the court ruled.

Abubakar said the Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa demonstrated without the benefit of the doubt that they were duly sponsored by a political party.

The tribunal Chairman said the evidence of submission of the names of Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa by Buni led Caretaker Committee at the instance of the party’s NEC was not disputed by the petitioners.

He further pointed out that Buni’s membership of the APC was also not disputed by the petitioners.

“There is also evidence to confirm that the APC as the sponsor complied with the law in the process for the submission of the names of its Candidates, Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa”.

“Jegede’s case is flawed and hereby dismissed. The chairman declared

Justice Abubakar noted that no extra cost will be put on any parties in the petition as parties would be made to bear their costs.

Recall that during the legal fireworks, the counsel to Jegede, Onyechi lkpeazu had alleged substantial infractions against Section 183 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended fallout of which made Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and Lucky Ayedatiwa both of APC not to be validly nominated as Governorship Candidate and Deputy Governorship Candidate respectively for the Election.

He said that “Article 17 of APC Constitution also provides that any party official of the party at any organ cannot spontaneously occupy any other executive in government concurrently thereby faulting the nomination of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and Lucky Ayedatiwa as Governorship Candidate and Deputy Governorship Candidate respectively.

He, therefore, prayed the Tribunal to declare that APC had no Governorship Candidate and Deputy Governorship Candidate for the Election and that Eyitayo Jegede should be declared as validly elected as Governor of Ondo State.

On his part, Akin Olujimi, counsel to governor Akeredolu said that the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to interpret Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

According to Olujimi “Eyitayo Jegede is not a member of APC and cannot, therefore, interfere in an internal crisis of APC.

He said that “Eyitayo Jegede failed to prove that Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and Lucky Ayedatiwa were not validly nominated for the Election and therefore appealed to the Tribunal to dismiss the petition of Eyitayo Jegede for chasing shadows and wasting the time of the learned jurists.

The counsel too I NEC Charles Edosomwan told the tribunal that “NEC has no right to reject a nomination from a political party.

Edosomwan, therefore, faulted the claims of Eyitayo Jegede and PDP and prayed the Tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

*** Tribunal verdict reflects the law, peoples wish — Akeredolu

…….no enemies, no grudges

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has described the judgement of the State Election Tribunal as a true reflection of the position of the Law and the collective wish of the people.

Akeredolu said that he had no enemies to hold any grudges against as a result of the Tribunal case.

Reacting after the judgement, the governor said “For every purpose and mission endorsed by God, the will to navigate the clouds of uncertainties and the path of thorns becomes stronger if backed by faith. In our own case, our faith is unshakable.

“It is, therefore, with gratitude to God that we accept the verdict of the Honourable Tribunal.

“We have gone through this legal process and the path of Justice with the hope that the true position of the Law shall once again, be examined and exposed.

” The industry and legal expertise demonstrated by the Honourable Tribunal has corroborated this desire.

“We were equally enamoured by the inexorable quest to renew our social bond with the good people of State while the legal tussle was on.

” In an unambiguous manner, the Tribunal verdict has further fermented this bond and strengthened the wish of the people.

“Notwithstanding, the legal process was not just part of our democratic culture. Legal paths, without doubt, provide in some cases, certain opportunities that permeate fresh frontiers.

“Therefore, the ability to extend the hands of friendship, the courage to absorb even the undeserving as well as the magnanimity to reinvigorate old, laxed relationships without grudges is what makes a real democrat. I hold no grudges against anyone.

“Once again, the good people of Ondo State, without any stratification, remain my constituents. We shall together, move the State to higher and loftier heights.

“For my brother, friend and colleague, Eyitayo Jegede, my respect for him cannot wane and I enjoin him to join hands with us in this Ondo Project. There is no victor, no vanquished

***Ondo APC applauds judgment

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo has hailed the judgment of the State Governorship Election Tribunal, describing it as a victory for the people of Ondo State, who abandoned everything on October 10, last year, to cast their votes.

The chapter congratulates its Caretaker Chairman, Ade Adetimehin, its candidate in the election, Rotimi Akeredolu, his running mate, Hon. Lucky Ayedatiwa, and indeed all the teeming supporters of APC in Ondo State. They have all been vindicated by sound judgment.

This was contained in a statement by the state party’s Publicity Secretary Alex Kalejaye.

The party commends the 3-man Tribunal for being dispassionate and objective in considering all the arguments and counter-arguments assembled before it, while the trial lasted.

The party further lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for adhering to what fair and reasonable.

“We wonder how a candidate that scored three over 18 in an examination could expect to be declared successful, adding “the People’s Democratic Party wanted victory through the backdoor”.

” The party advises the main opposition party to accept the judgment in good faith, and put its house in order, why preparing for future elections.

**** l will study the judgement to know the next step to take- Jegede

” l will consult my counsels, eminent counsels who are knowledgeable in this business. A good number of them, some of them my senior. By the time I add my own knowledge, we shall forge forward.

“We don’t want to rush to do anything. We will look at the judgment. We will request a copy of the judgment given the fact that we have sixty days within which to conclude and we shall appeal if there is one and the time starts today.

“So it is important that we have access to the judgment just delivered. We need to look at what they have read. It is very critical and that is what we intend to do. I

” l commend the judges that they were able to deliver the judgment within 180 days despite the strike.

” l commend the judges that they were able to deliver the judgment within 180 days despite the strike.

“There is no emotion about this, we are interested in governance in Ondo State.

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