Ekiti Poll: Fayemi, Olusola Know Fate Tomorrow

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Tobi Soniyi

The Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja will on Monday deliver judgment on a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party challenging the election of Dr Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress.

Notices to this effect had been sent to counsel who represented parties while the petition was argued and defended.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Belgore had on January10 told the parties that the tribunal would give them 48 hours notice before the delivery of the tribunal’s verdict.

The petition, which was filed by the PDP and its governorship candidate, Prof Kolapo Olusola, challenged the victory of Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at last year’s governorship polls in the state.

At the last hearing, counsel presented their final written addresses.

Counsel to the petitioners, Yusuf Ali SAN, urged the tribunal to nullify Fayemi’s victory on the grounds that Fayemi was not qualified to have stood for the July 2018 election having been barred from seeking elective office for 10 years on the strength of his indictment by the Justice Oyewole Commission of Inquiry.

Ali also urged the tribunal to uphold the sanctity of the country’s electoral process by nullifying the election based on alleged malpractices, like over voting, deliberate voiding of votes meant for the petitioners, among others.

However, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, counsel to Fayemi, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for being baseless and lacking in merit.

Fagbemi contended that the purported indictment of his client by the commission of inquiry was based on Section 182, a section, he argued had been deleted from the constitution by the first alteration in 2010.

He added that the petitioners erred in basing the petition on a section of the law that was deleted eight years ago. He stated that his client could not be punished for an offence not captured in law.

He noted that all allegations against the election of Fayemi were criminal in nature, and submitted that the petitioners failed woefully to prove them.

On the allegation of voiding of votes, he stated that throughout the hearing of the petition, no single ballot paper was tendered before the tribunal to support the claim.

Similarly, counsel to the APC, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) urged the court to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the APC governorship candidate was not lawfully indicted by the Oyewole Commission of Inquiry as required by law.

He submitted that the purported indictment and the 10-year ban was based on the alleged disrespect of Fayemi to the commission by his refusal to appear before it.

Counsel to INEC, Chief Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN) urged the tribunal to uphold the election on the ground that the electoral body conducted the election in substantial compliance with the laws.