Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The Oyo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal at the weekend, paved the way for a quick and unhindered hearing of the petition filed by Accord gubernatorial candidate, Rashidi Ladoja, challenging the result of the last April governorship election in the state, as it ruled that all motions and applications concerning the petition must be heard and determined within the 180 days stipulated by the Electoral Act.
Senator Ladoja’s lead counsel, Chief Richard Ogunwole, (SAN), had filed an application to that effect, relying on appropriate legal authorities, while his colleagues for the respondents including that of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have argued against the application, relying on legal authorities too.
Citing previous judgment by the Appeal Court in Governor Rauf Aregbesola of State of Osun’s case against Senator Iyiola Omisore, the tribunal chairman, Justice Mohammed Aliu Mayaki, in his over two hours ruling on the application however, ruled that election petitions are in a class of their own and must be handled within the stipulated time with all issues and motions concerning the petitions dispensed with once and for all.
He said: “this application is granted as this will not jeopardize the respondent’s replies and other issues within the stipulated period of 180 days to dispense with the petition.”
Justice Mayaki had earlier also ruled in favour of Senator Ladoja’s application which the respondents’ counsel initially faulted as not being properly addressed and signed by his lead counsel.
The tribunal chairman also ruled, “the tribunal is convinced that whoever sees the application will no doubt agree that R.A Ogunwole, who appears for the petitioner has his name and address clearly and properly stated on the application .The address which reads R.A Ogunwole, Bibilari near Idi-Ape, Ibadan and his office telephone numbers are clearly stated on the application.”
Justice Mayaki after the ruling counseled supporters of all parties in the petition to be of good conduct, vouching for the competence of all the counsel appearing for the parties to diligently handle the case.
All the counsel including that of INEC, Mr. Adeboye Shobanjo , in their various reactions after the ruling , lauded the competence put in by the tribunal chairman.