12th September, 2011
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting at High Court, Isabo, Abeokuta, Ogun state capital today reserved its judgment in the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the victory of the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
The tribunal Chairman, Justice Bashir Sukola, who refused to disclose the date of the judgment after carefully listening to all the parties in the petition said the court would communicate the date to the parties.
PDP had kicked against the victory of Amosun who was the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, governorship candidate during the 26 April, 2011 general election and headed to the tribunal to seek redress.
PDP in its petition joined the state Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as first respondent, Amosun second respondent while Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) and its governorship candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka are 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents respectively.
At today’s hearing, the PDP through its counsel, Mr Ajibola Oluyede told the court to nullify the election of Amosun on the ground that the election was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.
In his argument, the PDP counsel, Mr Oluyede claimed that there were vote-splitting which occurred as a result of the participation of the PPN in the election, which according to him, should not have been allowed.
He maintained that there was a judgment in favour of PDP by the Federal High Court in Abuja which agreed with the party’s submission that PPN members in the state were members of the PDP.
According to him, “the votes cast for PPN should be added to that of the PDP and INEC has failed to complied with”, urging the court to add votes cast for both the PDP and PPN during the election.
Oluyede also said that INEC erred by declaring Amosun as the winner following his inability to have majority of the total votes cast.
According to him, “INEC did not comply with the Electoral Act by allowing PPN candidate to participate in the election.
“We are asking your lordship to make Section 138 (1c) be applied in this matter. The election of 2nd respondent (Amosun) can be challenged that he did not score majority of the lawful votes cast.
“It is therefore, not sufficient under our laws for anyone who has won only a plurality of the votes cast to be declared and returned elected. I humbly urge your lordship to grant the relief,” the PDP said.
In his submission, Amosun’s counsel, Dr Olumide Ayeni who adopted his final address filed 10 September, urged the court to dispense justice according to the law not on what ought to be, citing the case between Bakare & Nigeria Railway Corporation in 2007.
Dr Ayeni further stated that, ” the petitioner has not substantially demonstrated that his claim affects the result, citing the case of Ojukwu & Odigwe 1984.
” The Petitioner did not state the Local Governments to be nullified. The petition is so unmeritorious, I urge the court to dismiss it,” Amosun said.
The INEC counsel, Mr Ilo Uzo Justin submitted that vote splitting as claimed by the petitioner could only occur in political parties’ primaries, saying there could never be vote-splitting in a general election.
“The Electoral Act did not provide for it,” he said.
Mr Justin who also joined Amosun’s counsel to urge the tribunal to dismiss the PDP petition, appealed that, the court should award compensation for the respondents against the petitioner.
The counsel to the state ACN , Mr. George Oyeniyi aligned with what Amosun and INEC’s counsel said, urging the tribunal to dismiss the PDP petition.
Â By Abiodun Onafuye, Abeokuta