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Court upholds Akeredolu’s election, strikes out Jegede’s petition

The Electoral Tribunal sitting in Akure has struck out the petition of the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, against the re-election of Governor Oluwarotimi…

The Electoral Tribunal sitting in Akure has struck out the petition of the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, against the re-election of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

The PDP and its candidate had challenged the victory of Akeredolu in October 2020 governorship election.

The tribunal judgement, which was earlier scheduled for Tuesday April 20th, was rescheduled Monday night to Tuesday and was held via Zoom.

In the two-hour judgment, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abubakar Umar however struck out Jegede’s petition for lack of jurisdiction.

According to the tribunal, “Issue raised therein in this petition are settled the issue of internal affairs and Management of a political party which this Tribunal has no jurisdiction.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Akeredolu the winner of the last year’s governorship election having polled the highest lawful votes to defeat Jegede of the PDP and former Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

Displeased with the outcome of the election, Jegede through his Counsel, Mr Onyeksasi Ikpeasu (SAN) challenged the victory of Akeredolu at the poll.

Jegede challenges Akeredolu’s nomination

The major crux of Jegede’s petition was that the reelected governor was not validly nominated by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Jegede in his petition argued that Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa were not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the State Governorship Election held on October 10, 2020.

Reacting to the judgment, Akeredolu described the judgment of the State Election Tribunal as true reflection of the position of the Law and the collective wish of the people.

Governor Akeredolu similarly posited that he had no enemies to hold any grudges against as a result of the Tribunal case.

“We have gone through this legal process and the path of Justice with the hope that the true position of the Law shall once again, be examined and exposed. The industry and legal expertise demonstrated by the Honourable Tribunal has corroborated this desire.

“We were equally enamored by the inexorable quest to renew our social bond with the good people of State while the legal tussle was on. In an unambiguous manner, the Tribunal verdict has further fermented this bond and strengthened the wish of the people.

“Notwithstanding, the legal process was not just part of our democratic culture. Legal paths, without doubt, provide in some cases, certain opportunities that permeate fresh frontiers.

“Therefore, the ability to extend the hands of friendship, the courage to absurd even the undeserving as well as the magnanimity to reinvigorate old, relaxed relationships without grudges is what makes a real democrat. I hold no grudges against anyone.

“Once again, the good people of Ondo State, without any stratification, remain my constituents. We shall together, move the State to higher and loftier heights.

“For my brother, friend and colleague, Eyitayo Jegede, my respect for him cannot wane and I enjoin him to join hands with us in this Ondo Project. There is no victor, no vanquished.

PDP vows to appeal judgment

Also, the People’s Democratic Party in its reaction said it will appeal the decision of the tribunal.

In a statement signed by the state publicity secretary of the party Kennedy Ikantu Peretei, the PDP said it will appeal the judgment of the Ondo Governorship Elections Tribunal delivered virtually Tuesday.

“It is important to stress that, in its wisdom, the Tribunal admitted that issues raised by the petitioners were sufficient for consideration but Constitutional, which the Tribunal is not in a position to do justice to.

“The interpretation of the Constitution is a role reserved exclusively for the highest Court in the land- the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

The Constitution of every country is the document that regulates the actions and behavior of its citizens.

“Therefore, it is our belief that nobody can flagrantly trample on the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) and escape with the excuse that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction.

“The PDP is convinced that we have a strong case for which we shall be vindicated at the end of the day.

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