The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ibadan has upheld the victory of Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress had filed petition against Makinde in the March 9th governorship election in the state. Makinde polled 515,621 votes to defeat his closest rival, Adelabu, who had 357,982 votes, while PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission are also respondents.
The petitioners said that Makinde was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes, adding that the election was marred by over-voting and failure to comply with the provision of Electoral Act. Adelabu, therefore, prayed the tribunal to declare him the winner of the election, adding that he scored the highest number of lawful votes; or, alternatively, the tribunal should nullify the election and order a re-run.
Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Muhammed Sirajo, who delivered the unanimous judgment said the testimonies of the ward and local government agents called by the petitioners could not be relied upon.
According to the tribunal, the agents did not speak the truth but only relied on what they were told by the polling units agents. He said that 32 pieces of evidence, out of the 69 witnesses called by the petitioners, were hearsay because the petitioners were ward and local government collation agents; while the remaining 37 were polling unit agents.
Sirajo said that the petitioners called 69 witnesses and tendered 4,164 exhibits; while the respondents called 15 witnesses, adding that the said testimony of an eyewitness must come from the polling units agents who witnessed all that happened from the beginning to the end during the election.
The tribunal said that the petitioners also failed to tender necessary documents that would assist members of the tribunal in proving ballot paper accounting. He said that it was not only the responsibilities of petitioners to tender documents but also to prove that the alleged irregularities in the election substantially affected the outcome of the election. Sirajo said that the petitioners failed to prove that the respondents were not validly elected by majority of lawful votes.
“The petitioner failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance, non-accreditation, over voting and corrupt practices that would warrant the tribunal to nullified the election,“ he said. Sirajo, who said that the petition lacked merit and stood dismissed, awarded N200,000 cost against the petitioners..