By Richard Thomas , Ibadan
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has dismissed the petition of All Progressive Congress governorship (APC) candidate Adebayo Adelabu in the March 9 election and upheld the election of Engr. Seyi Makinde of People’s Democractic Party (PDP ) as the duly elected Governor of Oyo State in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced Makinde as the winner of the election, defeating Chief Adebayo Adelabu of All Progressives Congress (APC).
PDP candidate won 28 out of the 33 local governments in the state, leaving the All Progressives Congress with only five.
Makinde received 515, 621 votes to Adelabu, who polled 357, 982 votes.
The margin of defeat was 157,639 votes.
Forty two political parties contested the governorship election, even though many of them dropped their ambition at the last-minute to align with either the PDP or the APC.
Not satisfied after studying results in units, wards and local government area, Adelabu had gone to court to challenge Makinde’s victory.
The panel, which is headed by Honourable Justice Suraju Muhammadu with the assistance of Honourable Justice (Kadi) Musa Bazza and Honourable Justice Elizabeth Orji, dismissed the petition of the APC and its candidate,Chief Adebayo Adelabu for lacking in merit.
After many weeks of legal fireworks, the governorship election petition tribunal on August 23 admitted the final written addresses filed by Makinde, Adelabu, PDP and INEC.
At the tribunal yesterday, notable members of the ruling PDP and opposition APC, stormed the court as the governorship election petition tribunal began judgement delivery earlier the morning.
Many party faithful arrived the court premises as early as 6 a.m, only to meet security operatives on ground.
Apart from lawyers and those who have genuine business to do within the premises, those who were granted access were screened.
The judges commenced reading of the judgement around 10:15 am.
In a petition filed by Adelabu, dated March 29, 2019 with a suit number EPT/OY/Gov/01/2019, challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Seyi Makinde and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as first, second and third respondents, while Adelabu, APC as first and second petitioners respectively.
During the proceedings, the petitioners called a total number of 69 witnesses and tendered 4,166 documents which had been admitted as evidence.
On the other hand, the respondents too called evidence and tendered documents.
Upon the adoption of the final written addresses by the counsel on behalf of all the respective parties , the chairman of the tribunal, Honourable Justice Suraju Muhammad reserved the judgment.
Earlier, the counsel of all parties was given five minutes each to make their final addresses.
Counsel to the first respondent had urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for being grossly unmeritorious without any substance. He added that the petitioners have erroneously placed the burden of proof on the shoulders of the first respondent.
Counsel to the second respondent urged the tribunal to nullify the petition for non-compliance with the provision of the electoral act as amended while the counsel to the third respondent, Nathaniel Oke, SAN, called on the tribal to dismiss the petition to “dismiss the petitioners’ on the ground of inadequacy of evidence and lacking in merit.