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Ondo Election: Tribunal Strikes out AP, CPC Petitions

05 Feb 2013

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Governor Olusegun Mimiko

Removes PDP from petitioners list

James Sowole 

The Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure over the complaints emanating from the October 20, 2012 governorship election in Ondo State Monday removed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the list of petitioners that filed cases before it.

The removal of the PDP’s name was one of the rulings delivered by the Justice Andova Kaka’an-led tribunal, which also rejected the application filed by the party’s candidate seeking to add more witnesses to those one he originally listed in his petition.

The action of the tribunal on the PDP was sequel to the signing of its petition by the Director of Organisation, Mr. Chris Omotuyi, who the tribunal described as not known to the party’s constitution because he was not an elected officer.

Equally, the tribunal struck out the petition of the Accord Party (AP) and its candidate, Mr James Ojo, following the application of the national leadership of the party led by the Chairman, Hon Mohammed Lawal Halado, and the written application by Ojo’s running mate, Funmilayo Atinuke James.

Ojo’s supposed running mate had written to the tribunal to buttress the position of the national secretariat of the party that AP did not field candidate for the election.

James wrote to the tribunal that Ojo and herself the running mate did not meet the requirements for them to be nominated by the party for the election adding that there was no need for them to file any petition because the said election was free and fair.

Also, the tribunal struck out the petition of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) candidate, Olusoji Ehinlanwo, against the return of the  Olusegun Mimiko  as the winner of the October 20 Election.

It equally struck out substantive paragraphs of the PDP's candidate because they were vague and speculative and 20 paragraphs of the petition of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for non joinder of necessary parties affected by the paragraphs.

With the striking out of the petitions of the AP, CPC and the Peoples Democratic Change (PDC), which had earlier being struck out, the tribunal only had to deal with the remaining parts of the ACN and the PDP petitions.

Giving its ruling on the petition of the AP, Kaka’an said the petition was defective as the deputy governorship candidate in an affidavit in support of the petition claimed that the party had no candidate for the election.

The tribunal added that in the affidavit claimed the deputy governorship candidate also said that the election was free and fair, while also admitting that the party did not file the necessary papers.

Apart from this, the tribunal ruled that the petition lacked the basic requirements as contained in the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, saying basic information needed for the petition to hold were not available.

Kaka'an said the petition did not state whether the petitioner is a Nigerian, his age, his membership of a political party, adding that it did not state the scores of those that participated in the election.

The tribunal also stated that since the petitioner had filed an action before the Federal High Court sitting in Akure with the same parties and reliefs, the petition before the tribunal amounted to an abuse of court processes.

He said: “We hold that this petition is a complete abuse of court process, the petition also fell short of the provisions of Article 41 of the petition is fundamental and incurably defective.”

Striking out the petition of CPC, the tribunal also held that Ehinlanwo failed to give necessary information that qualify him to contest the election and file any petition before it.

It also held that since Ehinlanwo had agreed that he scored less than one per cent of the total vote cast in the election, it would be difficult for his petition to stand.

The tribunal held: “The petitioner is a day dreamer and the petition is a huge joke, since he has no petition against other political parties that participated in the election, how does he realise his dream of becoming the governor.”

While ruling on the application brought by counsel to Mimiko, Chief Wole Olanipekun, the tribunal held that Chris Omosuyi that signed the party’s petition lacked the power to do so because the constitution of the PDP did not recognise the office of Director of Organisation, which Omosuyi claimed to be occupying.
“Omosuyi is an impostor in this matter, he is just an employee of the PDP and the constitution of the party does not recognise the office of Director of Organisation that he claims to be occupying,” he said.
The tribunal also struck out substantive part of the petition filed by Oke on the ground that they were vague, speculative, generic, imprecise and pre election matter.

The tribunal noted that the affected paragraphs made serious allegations against some people and security agencies without specific mentioning of the areas where the act took place.

It stated that the petition did not mention specific polling unit, ward or local government areas where the actions being complained of took place, saying the affected paragraphs lead to nowhere.

In the same vein, the tribunal struck out same paragraphs from the petition filed by the ACN and that of the CPC as they failed to join the necessary parties.

The tribunal noted that the affected paragraphs made diverse and weighty allegations against some people and security agencies without joining the affected people in the petition.

It ruled that no-joinder of necessary parties was fatal, adding that the rule of fair hearing states that anybody alleged to have committed an offence should be joined in a matter.

The tribunal adjourned hearing on remaining parts of the consolidated petition till tomorrow (Wednesday).

Tags: Politics, Nigeria, Featured, Ondo Election, Tribunal, AP, CPC Petitions

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