Bid by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to stop Sen. Kola Balogun as senator representing Oyo South senatorial district has suffered a setback.
The tribunal just dismissed a case brought before it by the APC against the victory of Balogun.
OYOINSIGHTCOM recalls that Balogun had defeated Ajimobi, who was a sitting governor, in 8 out of 9 local government area in the district.
Oyo APC had asked the tribunal to cancel election in all 9 local government areas and order a fresh election owing to alleged irregularities in the February 23, 2019 election.
The unanimous decision was reached by the panel led by Justice Anthony Akpovi (Chairman), Justice Chinyere Ani and Justice Sambo Daka.
The matter with case number EPT/OY/SEN/12/2019 has the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the petitioner while the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), Dr Kola Balogun and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) serve as the first, second and third respondent respectively.
Balogun had scored 105, 720 votes to defeat Ajimobi who polled 92,213 leaving a margin of about 13, 102 votes, as announced by the electoral umpire.
The judgement which lasted about three hours was as read by Justice Akpovi on behalf of other members of the panel.
Justifying the decisions of the panel to throw out the petitioners prayers, the Panel held that the APC failed to prove the petition beyond reasonable doubt arguing that only 11, 759 votes were in contention out of the total votes score recorded in the election.
Also, it added that even if all the prayers of the petitioner were granted and the votes in contention added to its score, the respondent would still have won the election with about 1,743 of the total votes cast.
Faulting the reliance of the petitioner on perceived anomalies with the card readers, the panel held that manual registers were also deployed for use in cases where card readers disappointed, a practice which was known and consented to by all the party agents at the polling units in contention.
Additionally, the panel faulted the appearance of party officials who came to testify in the stead of polling agents who were supposed to tender the result as well as the presentation of the card readers result by just anybody instead of the INEC ICT official who signed and approved the result.
While a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) had led the legal team of the petitioner (APC) during the hearing stages, Mr Isiaka Olagunju, Tunji Ogunrinde and Oluwasesan Dada led the teams that represented the first, second and third respondents respectively.
Recall that INEC had after the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly election announced Dr Kola Balogun of the PDP winner, but the result was contested by the APC whose flagbearer was Ex-Governor Ajimobi.
While the petitioner through the lead counsel, Chief Olujinmi had prayed the tribunal to nullify the election in some areas of the district due to certain discrepancies and as well order a fresh election, all the respondents in their separate presentations are praying the tribunal to dismiss the petition and as well grant substantial cost as compensation.
The panel also awarded a cost of N150,000 against the petitioners, and refused to grant the request of the petitioners for damages
According to the panel while giving its judgement, a total of 46 witnesses were called while 366 documents were tendered by all the parties.
As soon as the final judgement was announced, the court room which was filled with party supporters, associates, friends and partners of both the APC and PDP with hundred flooding the court premises erupted with songs and jubilation by the members of the victorious camp.