Ondo Tribunal upholds lawmaker’s election

Mr Joseph Akinlaja

The Ondo state Elections Petition Tribunal Friday upheld the re-election of a member of the House of Representatives representing Ondo East/West federal constituency of the state, Mr Joseph Akinlaja of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The three-man tribunal in its verdict dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 28, 2015 House of Representatives election, Mr Olabamidele Olanubi for lacking merit.

The APC candidate had in his petition prayed the tribunal to nullify the election of Akinlaja on the grounds that the election was characterized with irregularities and non-compliance to the electoral Act.

In the judgment delivered by Justice A.B. Akogun, the tribunal ruled that the petitioner failed to tender credible evidence, or call credible witnesses to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt that the election that produced Akinlaja was characterized with irregularities.

The tribunal also held that the PDP candidate scored the highest lawful votes cast in the poll contrary to claim by the APC candidate.

In their reactions, the APC candidate and his lead counsel Dr Tunji Abayomi expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment, insisting that the verdict would be challenged at the Court of Appeal.

However, Akinlaja said the judgment had justified that he was duly re-elected by the people of Ondo East/West Federal Constituency to represent them at the National Assembly which is currently doing.

In a related development, the judgment on the petition seeking the nullification of the election that produced another PDP member representing Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, Hon Kolade Akinjo will be delivered on October 6, 2015 as the tribunal has reserved its ruling till then.

The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Ojobor Ogar, fixed the date for the final judgment after the submissions of both parties during the sitting of the court.

The petitioner, Mr Orimisan Ayedatiwa of the APC asked the court to declare him as duly elected lawmaker, noting that Akinjo of the PDP was not qualified to contest the election under of the platform of PDP because he was still a member of the Labour Party as at when the poll was conducted on March 28, 2015.

The petitioner, Mr Orimisan Ayedatiwa of the APC asked the court to declare him as the duly elected lawmaker, noting that Akinjo of the PDP was not qualified to contest the election on the platform of the PDP because he was still a member of the Labour Party (LP) as at the time the poll was conducted on March 28, 2015.

In his submission, Counsel to the APC, Mr Yinka Orokoto said he had submitted enough evidence to show that the PDP lawmaker was not duly registered as the PDP member when he got the party’s ticket on the 6th of November, last year.

However, Akinjo’s counsel, Mr Olabanji Ayenakin insisted that his client properly left the LP and he was registered by the PDP before he was given the ticket to contest.

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