James Sowole in Akure
The Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal, saddled with the task of handling the complaints emanating from the October 2020 governorship poll in the state, has fixed judgment for April 2021.
However, the tribunal, which did not disclose the specific date for the judgment, said counsel to parties in the case would be notified of the date later.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Abubakar, made the announcement yesterday, after counsel to parties adopted their written addresses after closing hearing on the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, challenging the victory of the state Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, in the election.
Adopting his final brief of argument, counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, accused the defence counsel of trying to trivialise constitutional matter, and insisted that Akeredolu and his Deputy, Lucky Aiyedariwa, were not validly nominated to contest in the poll.
However, in his final address, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Charles Edosomwan, faulted the claim of the petitioner on the sponsorship of Akeredolu and Ayedatiwa by their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The counsel, therefore, prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.
While adopting their separate written addresses, counsel to Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa, Mr. Akin Olujimi, and that of the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, said the petitioner admitted in paragraph 12 of its petition in the sponsorship of third and fourth respondents but failed to prove that they were not validly nominated for the election.
They also appealed to the tribunal to dismiss Jegede’s petition for ‘chasing shadows and wasting the time of the learned jurists’.
The tribunal Chairman, Justice Abubakar, commended the cooperation of all the counsel, and assured them that judgement would be given at a date in April and which would be communicated to parties.