A National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, yesterday nullified the election of Hon. Kolapo Korede Osunsanya, representing Ijebu Central Federal Constituency.
Osunsanya, otherwise called KKO, was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Taiwo Shote, had filed a petition challenging the declaration of the APC candidate as winner of the February 23 election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But delivering its judgment, the tribunal led by Justice Wakkil Alkali Gana, upheld Shote’s petition and cancelled elections in two polling units and an entire ward in the Ijebu Central Federal Constituency.
The Ijebu Central Federal Constituency comprises three local government areas, including Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu North-east and Odogbolu.
The tribunal specifically cancelled elections in Ward 5, Unit 5 in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of the state; Ward 10, Unit 3 in Odogbolu Local Government area; and the entire Ward 8 in Ijebu North-east Local Government Area.
The Justice Gana-led tribunal ruled that since the margin of lead and difference between the petitioner and 1st respondent was less than 4,000 and the total number of cancelled votes was 8,800, the INEC ought not to have declared Osunsanya as winner of the election in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
It said the electoral body should have declared the election as inconclusive and ordered rerun in the affected ward and polling units.
The tribunal, therefore, declared that the APC candidate was not duly elected and nullified the Certificate of Return issued to him by INEC. It ordered that a rerun should be conducted within 90 days in the affected ward and polling units in the constituency.
Delivering judgment on other petitions, the tribunal upheld the election of Senator Tolu Odebiyi, representing Ogun West senatorial district and Hon. Jimoh Ojugbele, representing Ota Federal Constituency.
Justice Gana ruled that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of rigging and other electoral malpractices against both Odebiyi and Ojugbele, who are members of the ruling APC.
Meanwhile, Shote has described the judgment of the tribunal upholding his petition as victory for the rule of law.
According to him, “I am very delighted at the judgment just delivered. I am happy that justice has been served. Although the wheel of justice grinds slowly, it grinds steadily and surely. It is victory for the rule of law and good people of Ijebu Central Federal Constituency.
“I thank God and the good people of Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu North-east and Odogbolu local government areas for their unflinching support thus far, and I promise not to disappoint them.”