The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure, Ondo State on Friday affirmed the victory of Governor Olusegun Mimiko in the last governorship election in the state as it dismissed the petition filed by the Action Congress of Nigeria and its candidate in the October 20, 2012 election, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.The same fate befell the petion filed by the Peoples Democratic Party candidate in the election, Chief Olusola Oke. The petitioners challenged the victory of Dr Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party in the election.
The session started around 10 am as appearances of representatives of the various parties in the matter were taken. Olu Ogidan appeared for the Labour Party,Bisi Ayeni, Wole Aina and a number of others appeared for the ACN while Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) and others for Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Tunde Falola and others also announced appearance for INEC. Chief A. Ajana and others appeared for Chief lusola Oke of the PDP.
The three-man tribunal, led by Justice Andover Kaka’an started the business of the day by reviewing the petition of the ACN’s candidate. A part of the ACN’s candidate’s preliminary objection was rejected. Some paragraphs in the first respondents’ reply of addresses too were struck off by the Tribunal.
Justice Andovar Kaka’an thereafter read the Tribunal’s verdict on the ACN’s petition. He pointed out that ‘an election cannot be nullified unless it is shown that the non compliance substantially affected the result”. The Tribunal also pointed out that the testimonies of some of the witnesses brought forward by the petitioners were found to be false. The Tribunal stated that most of the evidences brought before it by ACN agents proved to be unreliable, and they constitute mere inadmissible hearsays as many bordered on allegations which could not be substantiated.
The Tribunal has also dismissed the evidence of ACN’s expert witnesses, which were described as incoherent and inconsistent.
The Ondo State Election Petitions’ Tribunal has thus dismissed the ACN petition for lack of merit.
After the dismissal of the ACN’s petition, the judgment on the petition filed by the PDP’s Olusola Oke was read. The Tribunal picked holes in the petition as it pointed it out that the petitioner’s pleadings were at variance with his evidence. The PDP’s petition bordering on improper accreditation during the election was dismissed. The Tribunal also stated further that the allegations of multiple voting and ballot snatching could not be substantiated by the PDP. The Tribunal also discountenanced evidence of PDP agents on the non-signature of Form EC8A on the grounds that the agents gave hearsay evidences.
It also dismissed allegations of disruption of election with food and other materials as it said the agents cross examined could not substantiate the claim.
The Tribunal said the PDP agent in Ese-Odo Local Government lied as he was the party’s collation officer and not an agent as he claimed.
Eyitayo Jegede, counsel to Dr Olusegun Mimiko commended the judiciary for the judgment. Wole Aina who represented the ACN said the judgment has been accepted in good faith but not without prejudices to seek redress. Jide Ajana, the counsel to the PDP said the judgment would be assessed in due course.