2023 Elections: Tribunal begins sitting in Akure


2023 ballot: Petition tribunal begins sitting in Akure

By Alaba-Olusola Oke

The National and State Houses of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal in Ondo State held its inaugural sitting on Thursday in Akure.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the tribunal received 14 petitions.

Addressing petitioners and respondents, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Rose Jisoji, craved their indulgences and cooperation to enable the tribunal to succeed.

Jisoji said that the tribunal was time-bound, hence “no party should waste the tribunal’s time”.

She said that the tribunal would listen to all the parties and make decisions based on facts and evidence in accordance with the extant law.

She further said that the tribunal would not tolerate any private talk between the tribunal’s members and parties involved in petitions before the court.

According to her, everything should be made public during court proceedings.

Responding on behalf of all the Counsel, Dr Abdulkadri Ajana, promised their total cooperation to the tribunal.

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Meanwhile, the tribunal decided on a proceeding template on how the hearing would hold and be decided on.

In the first petition, Mr Kolawole Olugbenga, the PDP House of Representatives Candidate in Akoko South-East and South-West Federal Constituency is asking the tribunal to declare him the winner rather than Mr Gbenga Adefarati of the APC.

Olugbenga, through his Counsel, Mr Tolu Babaleye, said that he was the winner of the election, having polled the highest number of lawful votes.

He argued that Adefarati, going by the Federal High Court’s judgement, was not a candidate in the election.

The second petitioner, Mr Tunji Balogun of LP in Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency, alleged that the LP logo was missing on the ballot papers during the election in the constituency.

He joined the Independent National Electoral Commission and APC’s candidate, Mr Donald Ojogo, as defendants.

Balogun’s Counsel, Mr Odusola Omolegbon, therefore, called for the cancellation of the election and conduct of a fresh election in the constituency for fairness to all the candidates.

Ojogo’s counsel, Ajana, said that he would file a preliminary objection to the two petitions, which would be made available at the adjourned date.

The tribunal adjourned sitting to May 13 for the continuation of hearing.

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