The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal for Oyo State has issued a landmark ruling, ordering a rerun election for the Saki West state constituency in Ibadan.
The controversy arose after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) initially declared Mr. Shittu Ibrahim of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election held on March 18.
The election results showed Ibrahim with 13,692 votes, surpassing the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Julius Okedoyin, who received 13,422 votes. Dissatisfied with the declaration, Okedoyin and the PDP approached the tribunal, alleging over-voting, irregularities, and non-compliance with electoral guidelines.
In a unanimous ruling by the three-man panel, chaired by Justice Jubril Anaja, the tribunal held that the petition had merit, and the petitioners had convincingly proven their allegations. It specifically noted the cancellation of results from Ward 6, Unit 7, and Ward 11, Unit 19 of the constituency, where 1,285 voter cards were collected.
The tribunal emphasized that the cancellation of these votes could significantly impact the election outcome. Although the declared winner led the petitioner by 270 votes in these wards, the number of voters disenfranchised exceeded 1,000. The tribunal concluded that the disenfranchised voters might have influenced the election result if allowed to vote.
As a result, the tribunal set aside the certificate of return issued to the first respondent, Mr. Ibrahim, by INEC, pending the rerun election to determine the true winner of the Saki West state constituency election. INEC has been ordered to conduct the rerun election in Ward 6, Unit 7, and Ward 11, Unit 19 within 90 days.
In response, Mr. Sikiru Adewoye, counsel to Mr. Ibrahim, announced his client’s intention to appeal the tribunal’s decision. Conversely, Mr. Yusuf Ogunrinde, counsel for the petitioners, praised the tribunal for its judgment. (Source: NAN)