The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election in Ondo state, Eyitayo Jegede and winner of the election, governor Rotimi Akeredolu have traded words over shooting and attack of party members at the inaugural sitting of the election Petition Tribunal in Akure, the state capital.
Jegede, had filed a petition against the victory of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the October 10 election.
At the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the opposition Peoples Democratic Party alleged that the governor mobilised thugs to the venue to harass and attack its supporters and members. Vanguard gathered that thugs suspected to be members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) stormed the state High Court, which is the venue of the tribunal sitting.
A supporter of one of the two parties was reportedly stabbed over gaining entrance into the tribunal However, the state PDP Publicity Secretary Kennedy Peretei in a statement accused the governor of ” mobilising large number of thugs to the venue of Ondo Gubernatorial Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital. ”
At the hearing this morning, Tuesday, APC thugs under the leadership of one “Chemical” bombarded the venue, harassing, molesting, beating up, shooting sporadically into the air and attacking anyone perceived to be supporter of the PDP and its Candidate, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN.
“Mr. Sunday Oladunmoye is still receiving treatments from machete cut wounds he sustained from this group of thugs. “They were parading the vicinity of the Court in a tinted Toyota Corolla car. Others were members of the Taxi Unit of National Union of Road Transport Workers( NURTW) with instructions from their master Jacob Adebo (Idajo) to cause pandemonium during the sitting.
“As early as 8.30a.m this morning, the Petitioners, Eyitayo Jegede and the PDP represented by its State Chairman, Alhaji Fatai Adams, led other PDP leaders to the Court. “But shortly thereafter, the APC thugs caused so much panic and confusion within the arena. It took the combined efforts of the Army and Policemen to restore order.
“The PDP wishes to call on security agencies to live up to this fresh threat to law and order in the State. Resorting to violence will not deter the PDP and its candidate from pursuing this Petition to its conclusive end.
Neither can this act of barbarism scare the Judges from the course of Justice. But, the ruling party in a its response by it’s Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye said that governor Akeredolu and the Party have no reason to indulge thugs.
Kalejaye said ” contrary to the unreasonable desperation of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to smear the image of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, and its candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, the ruling party has no reason to mobilise thugs to the venue of the governorship tribunal, sitting in Akure. “The APC in Ondo State parades unequalled disposition to peaceful conducts and approaches to issues, and therefore would not promote nor condone thuggery for whatever gains. “Like other stakeholders in the election petition tribunal, APC stalwarts, in their most decent and dignified manners arrived early today at the court, to listen to the proceedings. “We learnt, with dismay avoidable rowdiness among people that were struggling to enter the court premises. To the best of our knowledge, the desperation gave room for clash.
“We are of the strong opinion that political parties and other stakeholders should caution their sympathisers against unruly display throughout the legal process, rather than holding APC responsible for such indecent and aggressive attitude. “We wish to affirm our confidence in the tribunal to dispense justice, and would therefore have no reason to encourage violent disposition, under whatever guise. “At the end of the legal exercise, the tribunal decision would be informed by convictions, based on facts, and not on account of thuggery and violent displays. Meanwhile, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Abubakar has warned counsels appearing before the tribunal against moves to make personal contact with its members.
Abubakar maintained that all contacts should be channeled through the Registrar of the Tribunal. According to the Chairman of the Tribunal, “Each and every of the petitions are time bound. “There should be no communication, be it official or private with any member of the Tribunal. All means of communication should be channeled through the Registrar.
“Whatever relationship with any member before now should not be exhibited throughout the sitting. While assuring the Tribunal of the necessary cooperation needed, Counsel for APC, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN as well as that of Jegede, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN stated that no time would be wasted during the sitting. The grounds of the petition filed by Jegede include “that Rotimi Akeredolu was not validly nominated by his party, the APC. By the provisions of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, a serving Governor of a state (in this case, Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni) can not serve as the National Chairman of APC at the same time to nominate Akeredolu as candidate of their party for Ondo election. “Section 183 states that “The Governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.” Jegede added in the petition that “Article 17, section 1V of the APC Constitution also provides that, any official of the party cannot simultaneously occupy any other executive office in government. He said that “The election was marred with violence in some Local Government Areas as well as over voting in other areas.
Credit: Vanguard News