By Tunde Oyekola
Osun State Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition challenging the victory of OgbeniRaufAregbesola, Governor of the State of Osun and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the August 9, 2014 Governorship Election has adjourned indefinitely for judgment.
The chairman of the three-member tribunal panel, Justice Elizabeth Ikpejime said while ruling after the parties in the case had adopted their final written addresses.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)’s governorship candidate, Senator IyiolaOmisore is praying the tribunal to cancel the results of the election in some polling units in 17 local government councils of the state and declared him the lawful winner of the election.
Counsel to Omisore, Alex Izilyon (SAN) while addressing the panel said that the first respondent in the case, who is OgbeniRaufAregbesola and his party (APC) have not proved their defence beyond reasonable doubt adding that the said election was not manipulated in favour of APC. He said that the petitioner’s evidences were weighty enough to declare Omisore the winner of the election.
But Governor RaufAregbesola urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit, that it is baseless and a waste of time.
Represented by Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) and Mr. RotimiAkeredolu, Charles Edohor submitted that the specific allegations upon which the grounds of the petition were predicated are criminal in nature, adding that the petitioners have failed to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt.
They further submitted that the petitioners have failed to prove the liability of the first and second respondents in respect of the allegation beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law.
They also submitted that the specific allegations of sponsorship of broadcast advertisement of campaign on election day, intimidation, molestation and harassment, over-voting, multiple voting and voting by proxy, lack of proper accreditation, voting by ineligible persons and disenfranchisement of eligible voters, arbitrary allocation of votes, irreconcilable entries, discrepancy and mutilation of results, lack of proper accounting of ballot papers, campaign and inducement of voters and non-stamping of Forms EC8A as well as other sundry allegation like multiple registration were not established by the petitioners.
They further submitted that the petitioners have not satisfied the provision of section 179(2) as to the requirements of the constitution for someone to be declared as Governor.
“With these reasons and some other reasons fully canvassed in our written address, we urge your Lordship to dismiss this petition for lacking in merit with substantial cost. Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. AyotundeOgunleye said that he agreed with the argument by the first two respondents in the case. He said that the petitioners did not call any credible evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and faulted the claim of the PDP’s experts saying that all the documents used are INEC materials.
Meanwhile, security were beefed up around the court premises as armed policemen and operatives of State Security Service (SSS) were deployed in the area to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
Members of the PDP after the tribunal sitting had gone to town singing that the tribunal had declared their candidate, Senator IyiolaOmisore winner. The news which spread like wild fire around the town as residents of state were making callings to government officials and journalists to find out the true story concerning the sitting at the tribunal.
In a swift reaction, the All Progressives Congress (APC) faulted the claim that PDP has won the election petition tribunal case. A statement issued by its Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Barrister KunleOyatomisaid “it is not true that the PDP has won at the Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo.
“The PDP members had gone beserk. Nothing of sort has happened anywhere in any court of law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ he said.
The APC admonished the residents of the state to shun the rumour, describing it as wicked and cynical jubilation by PDP members around some centres in Osogbo that they have won at the Tribunal.
“It is not only false, it is intended to create confusion in the state capital and other cities. What happened today at the tribunal was not a judgment. ‘The Tribunal simply had addresses by all counsel, representing their clients on the case. After that, the Tribunal chairman adjourned sitting indefinitely.
“No date has been fixed for judgment. Only a terrible mischief-maker and political vagabond will go about town declaring victory and rejoicing in a case of this nature which the court has not made final pronouncement on.
‘The people of Osun should disregard PDP’s antics. ‘That party is already losing its mind and its leadership in the State of Osun’ needs spiritual and medical help.
‘Governor RaufAregbesola is in charge and All Progressives Congress is the party in power in the State of Osun.
‘Nothing has changed that fact. Osun people should go about their lawful businesses and treat the PDP people who are jubilating over nothing with pity for something has seriously wrong with them, the APC said.