By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The petition challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu in March 28, 2015 National Assembly election in Oyo Central Senatorial District was on Tuesday dismissed by the three-man tribunal sitting at the Oyo State High Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
The petition, with suit number EPT/IB/SEN/NA/10/2015, was brought before Justice Abundaga by the Accord Party candidate, Chief Oyebisi Ilaka, and his party, challenging Senator Sunmonu’s election.
Sunmonu, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Oyo State are listed as first, second and third respondents respectively.
Barristers Olawale Omoloye, Tola Oshoobi, T. Olowofela and Oluwatosin Adisa represented the petitioner, the first, second and third respondents respectively.
Chief Ilaka had approached the tribunal seeking five reliefs among which is the one that Monsurat Sunmonu was not qualified to contest the election because she allegedly holds dual citizenship.
The petition also alleged that Senator Sunmonu did not win simple majority votes in the National Assembly election.
In a two-hour, 33 minutes ruling, Justice Abundaga, in an unanimous judgement, dismissed the petition on the grounds that the petitioner failed to present substantial evidence to support his petition.
In all the five reliefs sought by the petitioners, the tribunal stated that they failed to substantiate their claims.
According to the Abundaga, the petitioner failed to bring any evidence to back his claim on dual citizenship, while the first respondent brought two witnesses to testify that she is an indigene of Oyo town.
Justice Abundaga stated that the petitioner has no material evidence to support his petition.
He said the petitioner also failed to list appropriate documents to back his claim and it was discountenanced on the issue of substantial non-compliance with electoral act.
Jubilation erupted within and outside the court premises by members of the APC, including the party’s state chairman, Chief Akin Oke, as Justice Abundaga dismissed the petition and upheld the election that brought in the former speaker of the state’s House of Assembly as senator.
Senator Sunmonu immediately surfaced within the court premises with some serving lawmakers and former lawmakers in the state to rejoice with her.
It was the same scenario when Sunmonu and her loyalists entered Oyo town through Owode, Akesan and then the palace of Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, where Olori Mojisola Adeyemi addressed them.
While speaking with journalists, Senator Sunmonu said she dedicated her victory to God, Governor Abiola Ajimobi and APC chairman in the state.
“It is God that has given me victory and I have never doubted my God because he is a merciful God. Nobody can upturn the victory God has given me. I will advise the opposition to accept defeat and shun politics of hatred.”