The Oyo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ibadan on Tuesday admitted no fewer than 34 exhibits in a petition filed by a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, challenging the election of Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Ladoja, the governorship candidate of Accord Party (AP) in the April 11 governorship elections, is praying the tribunal to nullify the victory of Ajimobi of All Progressives Congress (APC), and declare him the winner and governor of the state.
The petitioner, who joined APC, Dr Rufus Akeju, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner and the commission, as co-respondents, had hinged his petition on the grounds of gross electoral malpractice and non-compliance with the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act, as amended.
The tribunal chairman, Justice Mohammed Mayaki, while delivering a short ruling on the exhibits tendered by Ladoja’s counsel, Mr Richard Ogunwole (SAN), admitted the marked exhibits.
Among the exhibits that were admitted by the three-man panel was the written statement of the first witness, Bimbo Adepoju, which was admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibit 1.
The Approved Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, the Manual for Election Officials 2015, and the readings from the Card Reader machine, were also tendered and admitted as additional exhibits.
Also admitted as further exhibit by the tribunal was the chronological analysis of what transpired at the election.
This exhibit contained the reports of the controversial elections
conducted in Atiba, Atisbo and Iseyin Local Government Areas, among many others.
Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) counsel to APC, did not object to the exhibits tendered by the petitioner, saying it was not ripe for him to respond until the time of filing his final written address on the petition.
Similarly, Mr Olumuyiwa Aduroja (SAN), counsel to Ajimobi, aligned with Akeredolu’s position saying he would reserve his objections to the exhibits tendered till the stage of filing his final written address.
It would be recalled that the results of the poll announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission indicated that Ajimobi polled a total of 327,310 votes to beat his closest rival, Ladoja, who polled 254,520 votes.
While addressing a mammoth crowd of thousands of his supporters after the announcement of the results Ladoja had claimed that he had enough evidence to annul the victory of Ajimobi at the tribunal.
He also claimed that his mandate was stolen from him by APC and that AP would present all the evidences before the Election Petition Tribunal.
The former governor urged his teeming supporters not to take the law into their own hands but to have faith in the decision of the election tribunal.
“We have enough concrete evidences, which we will present to the tribunal; we will not take laws into our hands,” Ladoja had told his supporters who trooped to the headquarters of the party in the Samonda area of Ibadan, the state capital, to protest the results announced by INEC.