The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Ogun State has dismissed a petition filed against Governor Dapo Abiodun’s victory in the March 9 governorship poll in the State, saying “the petition was destined to fail.”
In a petition, marked EPT/OG/GOV/01/19, filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APC) candidate, Adekunle Akinlade and his party, the petitioner raised issues of lack of qualification and over-voting against Abiodun.
The petitioner had alleged that Abiodun’s Form CF001, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), contained false information, adding that the electoral body aided his qualification through the form.
According to the petitioner, the alleged false information was fundamental in nature to Abiodun’s qualification to contest March 9 election.
However, Justice Yusuf Halilu-led panel, in a unanimous judgment on Saturday, resolved the two major grounds of the petition – false information and over-voting in favour of the respondents.
In the judgement, which lasted for about five hours, Halilu held that the petitioners failed woefully to prove that the information contained in Abiodun’s Form CF001 was false and that INEC aided his qualification.
The Panel described argument canvassed by the counsel and the evidences given by the petitioner witnesses during the hearing as “lazy, shallow and deficient.”
On the alleged overvoting, the panel held that out of over 1,000 polling units where illegalities and irregularities were alleged, the petitioner only called 34 polling units’ agents who testified before the tribunal.
According to the tribunal, “the scanty and insufficient” witnesses called by the petitioner showed irredeemable damage has been done to the petition.
The panel further held that Petitioner Witnesses failed to tender smart card reports and the voter’s register to justify alleged irregularities at the polling.
“The petitioner failed woefully to prove that the respondent did not score the majority of lawful votes cast and we so hold,” Justice Halilu said.
“This petition is destined to fail, it failed and it is hereby dismissed,” he added.