OYO State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Ibadan, the state capital, on Wednesday, adopted written addresses of all the parties on the petition brought before it by the governorship candidate of the Accord Party, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, challenging the election of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Chairman of the tribunal, after adoption of counsels’ final addresses, Justice Muhammad Aliu Mayaki, informed that the date of the judgment would be communicated to them.
Senator Ladoja is challenging the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state, in a suit number EPT/IB/Gov/22/2015.
The three-man panel is headed by Justice Muhammad Aliu Mayaki, with Justices Muhammad Karaye and J.E Ikede as members.
The petitioner also joined APC, Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner,Dr Rufus Akeju and the commission itself as co-respondents.
The petitioners’ counsel, Chief Richard Ogunwole, first and second respondents’ counsel, Wole Olanipekun and Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and counsel to the third and fourth respondents, Yusuf Ali, who led their teams of counsel were present in court at Wednesday’s proceeding.
In his final address, counsel for Governor Ajimobi, Olanipekun, urged the tribunal to dismiss Senator Ladoja’s petition, because it had no substantial evidence and noted that the petitioner did not emerge through his party’s primaries election.
Olanipekun stated that “this petition is dead on arrival. This is the first and only petition where the petitioner did not have a witness statement. We have also taking objection to it by citing the Court of Appeal decision on the signature of the petitioner that there was no petition signed by the petitioner and it ought to have been struck out on this basis.”
He noted that the petitioner did not present any evidence of rigging, manipulation of election result and unprecedented act of violence as being sought for by the petitioner.
Olanipekun further added that the petition was an abuse of court process and waste of time of the tribunal.
Also, counsel for the second respondent, Akeredolu, noted that “the imprecise and vague nature of the petition” showed the level of unseriousness on the part of the petitioner.
In his presentation, counsel for the third and fourth respondents, Ali, maintained that all the allegations included in the petition were ‘baseless’ and urged the tribunal to dismiss it without further delay.
Meanwhile, the petitioner’s counsel, Ogunwole, argued that preliminary objections should not be attached to the final addresses of the respondents.
He challenged the respondents to give evidences that the petitioner did not go through primaries election process of his party before emerging as a candidate of the Accord Party.
After adopting the written addresses of the parties, chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mayaki directed all respondents to make available copies of authorities cited in their final addresses by Friday.
Speaking with journalists, lead counsel for the petitioner, Mr Ogunwole, said today was the last bus stop, because all the counsels had adopted their written addresses.
He said when the tribunal looked at the exhibits his team tendered before the tribunal, they would see that so many things were wrong with the votes counted in favour of the first respondent to declare him winner of the April 11 governorship election.