Election Petition Tribunal panel on Monday adopted addresses from former governor of Oyo State and Senatorial candidate in the 2019 Oyo South Senatorial election, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Senator Kola Balogun, the winner in the election.
The tribunal sitting in Iyaganku in Ibadan adopted the final written addresses of the APC and three respondents: INEC, Senator Kola Balogun (winner of the election) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The lead judge in the matter, Justice Anthony Akpovi has however said the court will announce the date of ruling on the petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the result of the 2019 Oyo South Senatorial election declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Monday’s adoption of the final written addresses drew the curtains on appearances of witnesses, the examination of documents by the parties, with the parties now waiting to be served hearing notice on the date of the judgment by the Akpovi led tribunal.
In the petition number EPT/OY/SEN/12/2019, the APC, citing observed alleged irregularities in accreditation especially smart card reader report, voters on form EC8D(1), is looking up to the tribunal to nullify results in some contending units and order that a fresh election is conducted.
Leading the APC’s charge, legal practitioner, Akin Olujimi argued that a flawed accreditation in several units across all nine local government areas that made up Oyo south senatorial district was tantamount to a flawed election.
Also relying on section 137 of the electoral act (as amended), Olujimi held that the INEC, as a maker of the electoral documents, was bound to defend the election on behalf of its elected officials, but failed to do so.
Clinging onto that section of the electoral act, Olujimi further argued that the APC did not have the duty to bring forward presiding officers, electoral officers, returning officers across the contending units anymore but could simply make its allegation against INEC that employed all those officials.
In his own defence, counsel to INEC, S. O. Osuolale, described the section 137 cited by the petitioner as inapplicable, adding that it was wrong for the burden of the defence to be shifted to the INEC.
Osuolale argued that it was the duty of the petitioner to establish its case and get people to testify, adding that the APC had no particular evidence to support its case.
He had further argued that the petitioner failed to give evidence on how it arrived at its own result computation while questioning the candidate in question, Abiola Ajimobi, was not specifically joined in the case.
Defending his written address, counsel to Senator Kola Balogun, Tunji Ogunrinde, asked the court to dismiss the APC’s petition.
In particular, he described the section 137 of the electoral act cited by petitioner as inapplicable, noting that the provision referred only to parties.
Noting that the case had prolonged, Ogunrinde further asked the court to ask the APC to pay N2million.
He also bemoaned why the petition came up noting that Ajimobi, after the declaration of the election result, had accepted the result and admitted that the election was free and fair.
Following submission of its own written address, Counsel to the PDP, Oluwasesan Dada said the party was sure of getting an unbiased judgment by the tribunal.