The three man panel chaired by Justice Hamidu Kanaza of the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Saturday, affirmed the victory of Prince Dapo Abiodun, as the winner of the March 18 governorship election.
In the judgement which lasted eleven hours, the Tribunal argued that the petitions filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Hon Oladipupo Adebutu marked EPT/ OG/GOV/03/2023, lacked merit and hereby dismissed.
“The Tribunal rules that the, Petitioners have failed to prove any of the grounds of the Petition and thus are not entitled to any of the reliefs sought. The petition fails and is dismissed. The return of Governor Abiodun is affirmed”
It was recalled that Adebutu and his party had prayed the court to order INEC to conduct fresh election in 99 polling units in 41 wards across 16 Local government areas of the State, where elections were either not held and/or cancelled due to disruption and over-voting.
The petitioners, therefore, urged the Tribunal to declare Adebutu, the winner of the election.
Reading the judgement, Kunaza held that the petitioners failed to prove the fact of their case, saying “On the whole the petitioners have not successfully prove the allegation of non compliance with the electoral act and have not discharge the burden of prove”.
On the issue of vote buying, the Tribunal resolves in petitioners’ favour, saying the respondents could not proved the allegation beyond reasonable doubt.
“Tribunal finds that although cash cards were produced by 2nd Petitioner, those cards were funded on 16 and 17 March 2023 (eve of the elections) and those cards somehow found their way to some polling units on Election Day, vote buying must be proved you’d reasonable doubt, a threshold which Respondents failed to meet,” the Panel said.
By Okunade Kehinde