James Sowole in Akure
The Election Petition Tribunal set up to address complaints from the National Assembly and House of Assembly Elections Tribunal received only four petitions on elections held in Ondo State.
The petitions comprised of three House of Representatives and one for senatorial election held on February 23, 2019.
In the House of Representatives election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the Ilaje/Ese Ondo Federal Constituency, Mr. Donald Ojogo, challenged the declaration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Kolade Akinjo, as the winner of the election.
Counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Isaacs Kekemeke, hinged the petition on the grounds that the declaration violated 2019 regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections and asked the court to declare the election inconclusive and called for supplementary election in the constituency.
In another petition, Mr. Albert Akintoye of the APC challenged the declaration of Mr Ikengbolu Gboluga of the PDP as the winner of the Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency.
Akintoye in the petition filed on his behalf by Yinka Orokoto, said he gathered the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election but was manipulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in favour of the PDP candidate.
Akintoye was therefore seeking an order setting aside the certificate of return issued by INEC to Gboluga and declare him as winner of the election.
Similarly, the PDP candidate for Ileoluji/Okeigbo/Odigbo Federal Constituency, Mr Abayomi Akinfemiwa, cha-llenged the return of Hon Mayowa Akinfolarin of the APC as winner of the election
The petitioner through his counsel, Mr Olumide Ogunja, submitted that election in some of the wards such as Odigbo, Ore, Oniparaga and Koseru were characterised by irregularities against Electoral Act as amended.
Ogunja argued that Akinfemiwa having scored highest number of lawful votes ought to have been returned and should be returned as the winner of the election.
In the fourth petition, the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) is challenging the declaration of Senator Ajayi Boroffice as senator-elect for the Ondo North senatorial district in the National Assembly election.
Counsel to the MPN, Mr. Remi Olatubora, submitted that INEC erred by unlawfully excluded the MPN from the ballot list and called for nullification of the election and order for fresh election in the district.
The tribunal headed by Justice Nuhu Adi and has Justices V.U. Okorie and K.M. Alabo as members, is yet to commence formal sitting.
Meanwhile the tribunal Secretary, Mr Livinus Ugwu, noted that the court has granted interlocutory applications for an order directing INEC to present for inspection materials used for the conduct of the elections and to make certified true copies available to the petitioners.