Election Tribunals Uphold Ajimobi, Akpabio, Dankwambo’s Election

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan has upheld the election of Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi by unanimously striking out the petition filed by the Oyo State governorship candidate of the Accord Party, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.

According to reports, Ladoja had approached the court to challenge the ruling of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ibadan.

The tribunal had on August 18 struck out an application filed by Ladoja seeking the leave of the court to call in a forensic analyst to tender the report made on the inspection of ballot papers and ballot boxes.

Ladoja had filed a petition challenging the declaration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the April 11 governorship election in Oyo State.

But in the ruling, the five-man panel court, headed by Justice M. Saulawa, dismissed the entire case and upheld the ruling of the tribunal.

Saulawa ruled: “Handing a different ruling will be an exercise in futility.

“The appeal is dismissed in its entirety and the ruling of the lower tribunal on August 18 is upheld.”

The court also said that the grounds for appeal was incompetent.

In a similar vein, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, Chief Inibehe Okorie, which challenged the election of Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio as the duly elected representative of the senatorial district.

In a judgement which lasted about one and half hours, the chairman of the tribunal, Honourable Justice Goddy Anunihu, with other two other Justice dismissed the petition against the electoral victory of Akpabio, describing it as baseless and lacking in merit.

Chief Okorie had claimed that due to a clerical error, Chief Akpabio was not the candidate for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, a position the Judges said was untenable as it was only the party which sponsored the candidate that can determine who its candidate was.

The Tribunal held that the error in the nomination form was not enough reason to nullify the election.

According to Justice Anunihu, the nomination of a candidate was the domestic affairs of the political party and the court could not interfere with it.

The Judges also held that the petitioner had failed to prove that the alleged violence on the day of the election could be linked to Chief Akpabio and dismissed an uncertified computer print out of accredited voters was not known to law.

In the unanimous decision, the Judges dismissed the case in its entirety and awarded a fine of N2, 500 against the petitioner, Chief Okorie.

In his reaction, Senator Akpabio said he was grateful that the judiciary has affirmed the wishes of the people of Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District as freely expressed by them on March 28 and said the victory would be an added impetus for him to continue to give quality representation to the Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State, the South South and Nigeria as a whole.

Deacon Jackson Udom, Former Special Assistant to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State on Media.

Meanwhile, the Gombe State Tribunal charged with reviewing the election petition of Mr Inuwa Yahaya, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the last gubernatorial election, ruled in favour of the incumbent Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.

The tribunal, presided over by Justice Suraj, charged Mr. Yahaya for “deliberately attempting to defame” the integrity of the tribunal, as a result the APC gubernatorial aspirant was charged the sum of N3500.

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