The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Friday dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last National Assembly election, Mr. Abayomi Akinfemiwa against a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Mayowa Akinfolarin.
Akinfolarin of the All Progressives Congress was declared winner of the February 23, 2019 House of Representatives election in Odigbo/Ile Oluji/ Oke Igbo Federal Constituency, by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Not satisfied with the outcome of the election, Akinfemiwa filed a petition at the tribunal, to challenge the decision of the INEC on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities and malpractices.
Delivering the judgement, the tribunal headed by Justice Nuhu Adi appraised the submissions of counsels of both the petitioner and the respondents.
The tribunal held that the testimony of the petitioner and some of his principal witnesses did not correspond with their statement on oath and as such the petition could not stand.
The court also held that the onus lies on the petitioner to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt, even if the INEC, which was the third respondent in the suit, refused to call any witness.
According to the tribunal, the petitioner failed to establish the allegation of over-voting in some polling units, non-accreditation and other forms of non-compliance to the 2010 electoral act as amended.
The three-man tribunal said the petition lacked merit and struck it out.
It said, “The petitioner could not prove his allegation of malpractices and non-compliance to the electoral act during the election.”
It, however, upheld the election of the APC’s candidate, Akinfolarin as the duly elected representative of the federal constituency.
Counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Remi Olatubora said the judgement would be challenged at the appellate court.