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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Tribunal affirms Akeredolu’s victory

By Sunmola Olowookere & Adekola Afolabi


Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has said he had no enemies or grudges against anyone over the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed his victory at last year’s governorship polls in the state.
Akeredolu made the declaration yesterday while reacting to the tribunal’s judgement which struck out the petition of the PDP candidate’s, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, over lack of jurisdiction to hear the suit.
The governor described the judgement as a true reflection of the position of the law and the collective wish of the people and extended a hand of fellowship to the PDP.
The Ondo State Election Petition tribunal yesterday struck out the petition of the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate, Eyitayo Jegede against the incumbent governor of the State.
The two hours judgement, however struck out Jegede’s petition for lack of Jurisdiction.
According to the tribunal, “Issue raised therein in this petition are settled issue of internal affairs and management of a political party which this Tribunal has no Jurisdiction”.
The tribunal ruled that Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his Deputy Lucky Aiyedatiwa were duly nominated and sponsored by the APC in line with section 177 of the constitution and section 31 of the Electoral Act.
Justice Abubakar said the electoral laws did not specify who to submit the names of candidates. The chairman doing so is just for administrative convenience.
Justice Abubakar noted that no extra cost will be put on any parties in the petition as parties would be made to bear their costs.
The Chairman of the Tribunal added that copies of the judgment would be made available to concerned parties.
The judgement affirmed Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa and Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as validly elected and returned as deputy Governor and Governor of Ondo state respectively.
Addressing journalists at the Government House, Alagbaka Akure, Governor Akeredolu used the occasion to appreciate the people of the state for the confidence reposed in them.
“The people have spoken and I know that they cannot be wrong. The result is there for us to see. It is a victory of all towns and it has never happened here in this state before but we thank God for this victory.
“We thank God for the judgement of the Tribunal, and I want to thank my brother, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN; he is not just a brother, he is my learned brother. He is somebody I respect a lot and I want to call on him and implore him to let us join hands together. There is no need for litigation and I don’t see anything in it. But let him come over and let us all join hands together to build this state together; there is room for many and more. I know that he loves this state and there is no doubt about that.
“I don’t see this as any victory. No Victor, no vanquished. It is just like a game, you win some, you lose some. You can’t win them all, but we thank God that today we are victorious.
“All I can say to you is that it is not me, it is not us, it is God and we give him all the glory, the Governor emphasised.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), had in the petition filed before the Tribunal challenged the outcome of the last gubernatorial election in the state. He faulted Akeredolu’s participation at the poll claiming that he and his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa of the All Progressives Congress (APC), were not validly nominated.
However, the defence counsel had pleaded with the court to dismiss Jegede’s claims on several grounds.
Counsel to Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa, Akin Olujimi and that of the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, said the petitioner had admitted in paragraph 12 of its petition the sponsorship of third and first respondents but failed to prove that they were not validly nominated.
They described the petitioner’s agreement as inconsistency of pleading which they said is forbidden by the law.
They subsequently prayed the court to dismiss the petition for not being properly instituted; adding that the Tribunal also lacked the jurisdiction to interpret section 183 of the constitution as prayed for by the petitioner.

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