Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday opened their defence at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, where his victory in the June 21, 2014 governorship poll is being challenged.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), which fielded the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the election, had filed a petition before the tribunal challenging the declaration of Fayose as the winner of the election.
The tribunal had relocated its sitting from Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, to Abuja, following the disruption of its proceedings by political thugs in September.
Fayose, through his lawyer, Robert Emukperuo, on Wednesday asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
Emukperuo led a defence witness, Dr. T.K.O Aluko, who is also the PDP Secretary in Ekiti State, in evidence on Wednesday.
In his testimony, Aluko told the tribunal that the election won by Fayose was peaceful, transparent, free and fair.
The lawyer, who led Aluko in evidence, tendered some documents as exhibit.
The APC had filed the petition challenging the results of the June 21 governorship election, which the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Fayose to have won.
The PDP candidate defeated Fayemi with 203,090 votes compared to the APC’s 120,433.
However, the APC alleged that the election was manipulated by the Federal Government in favour of the PDP.
The APC asked the tribunal to “unravel the hidden facts surrounding the election,” saying the poll was more of “a mechanical exercise than the conventional casting of votes.”
The party also challenged the qualification of Fayose for the election.
It argued that Fayose was not eligible to contest in the election because of an ongoing criminal case instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The sitting continues on Thursday.