Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Court of Appeal in Abuja thursday affirmed the election of Dr. Kayode Fayemi as Governor of Ekiti State.
A three-man panel of justices of the court led by Justice Stephen Adah, in a judgment dismissed the appeal filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kolapo Olusola and his party, for lacking in merit.
The Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja, had in a unanimous judgment delivered on January 28, 2019, dismissed the suit filed by the PDP and Olusola.
The tribunal held that the various allegations raised against the elections by the petitioners were not proved as required by law, adding that worthless documents were dumped on the tribunal.
The Chairman of the tribunal Justice Suleiman Bolaji Belgore, said contrary to the claims of the petitioners, Fayemi was duly and lawfully returned as winner of majority votes by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In dismissing the PDP and Olusola’s petitions, the tribunal specifically said that Fayemi scored 197,459 as against 178,121 votes scored by Olusola in the election conducted by INEC on July 14, 2018.
The tribunal further said that the plaintiffs failed to establish the allegations of corruption, malpractices, ballot box snatching, non-accreditation, over voting and deliberate voiding of votes, made against the defendants.
Justice Belgore noted that the petitioners only called 71 witnesses as against 926 listed to be invited to testify for them, adding that the 71 witnesses were scanty and insufficient to establish the fact of the various issues raised in the petition.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal, the PDP and Olusola approached the appellate court to reverse the decision of the tribunal and declare them winners of the July 14, 2017 governorship election.
However, delivering its judgment in the suit marked: CA/A/139/2019, barely three days after counsel to the parties in the suit adopted their brief of argument, the panel said after a careful look at the submissions of parties, “all seven issues raised by the appellants were resolved in favour of the respondents.
“Appeal is lacking in merit and it is hereby dismissed and the January 28 judgment of the tribunal is hereby upheld. No order as to cost,” Justice Adah held.