OGUN ELECTION TRIBUNAL TO GIVE VERDICT IN AMOSUN, ISIAKA CASE

The Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta hearing the petition filed by governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka against the victory of Senator Ibikunle Amosun of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the April 11,2015 election , will be delivering its verdict today 23rd October.

As to be expected,  there is great tension in both camps paticularly, in the Governor’s..

Earlier today, the swearing in ceremony of the new Head of Service Olusola Adeyemi, slated to take place tomorrow, was unexpectedly cancelled and rescheduled for Monday. Many in the capital city believe this is not unrelated to tomorrow’s Tribunal sitting.

There has not been any indication as to what the Tribunal’s verdict is likely to be.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Amosun winner and returned him as duly elected governor of Ogun State for satisfying the constitutional requirements stated in section 179 (2) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The result of the election was declared April 12,2015 , by the INEC where Amosun was credited as having scored 306,988 votes while Isiaka was credited with 201,440 votes.

Dissatisfied with the election and return of Amosun and APC at the election by INEC , Isiaka challenged it by presenting a petition to the registry of the Tribunal on April 30,2015.

On July 7,2015, the Tribunal commenced a pre-hearing session

But, at the hearing of the petition, the Petitioners called nine witnesses, one of whom was a Deputy Director of operations of  INEC, Samuel Ogunjemilua otherwise referred to as PW8. He was called in pursuant to a writ of ‘subpoena duce tecum’ to produce certified true Copies of the election results at the polling units, wards, and local governments along with the result collated at the State level. He also produced certified true copies of voters registers for the nine disputed local governments, the original ballot papers used for the election in the nine councils, the manual for election officials 2015 issued by INEC, certified true copies of incident forms used for the elections in the nine councils.

Isiaka predicated his petition on nine grounds which were; that the election was marred by electoral malpractices such as rigging, snatching of ballot of boxes, thuggery, violence , declaration of false results, falsification and forgery of result sheets, importation of voters from a foreign location, stuffing of ballot boxes with ballot papers, misuse of card readers and permanent voters cards.

Isiaka also stressed that the conduct of the election was characterised by manifested act of bias, nepotism and favouritism to the benefit of Amosun.

He also said the governorship election conducted by INEC in the state was characterised by non compliance with the provisions of electoral Act 2010 as amended.

“Votes were cast at unauthorised, illegal and secret polling units and voting points .

“That the first respondent (Amosun) was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the April 11,2015 governorship election in the state.

“The elections conducted in Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Odeda, Ewekoro, Ifo, Obafemi-Owode, Ado-Odo/Ota, Sagamu and Remo North local government areas of the state were invalid.

“Unlawful and illicit use of incident forms in lieu of card readers contrary to INEC guidelines on the conduct of the election . Voting without accreditation,   non-use of card readers and the incidence forms which is against the INEC guidelines.

“That the first respondent (Amosun) was not validly returned as the person duly elected in the governorship election of the state”.

Isiaka’s relief and prayers

Isiaka in his petition sought some relief which he urged the Tribunal to grant in the interest of fairness and justice.

The relief is that the Tribunal should give an order that the governorship election of April 11,2015 conducted by the INEC and Resident electoral Commissioner in the state who were referred to as third and fourth respondents was marred by malpractices, fraud, corrupt practices and outright rigging.

He also urged the Tribunal to “order that the first respondent (Amosun) was not duly elected and did not score the lawful majority votes cast at the April 11,2015 governorship election in the state and ought not have been returned by the INEC .

“An order that the total number of lawful votes cast at the April 11,2015, governorship election in the state were for the petitioners and the first petitioner ought to have been returned by the third respondent (INEC).

“An order that the votes allegedly scored or credited to Amosun and his party in Ifo, Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Sagamu, Odeda, Obafemi-Owode, Remo North, Ado-Odo/Ota and Ewekoro local government areas of the state are invalid on the ground of malpractices, corruption practices, fraud, ballot snatching, ballot stuffing and outright rigging.

“An order that the governorship election of April 11, 2015 in Ogun state suffers non-compliance with the electoral Act 2010 as amended. And an order declaring the first petitioner, Isiaka as the winner of April 11,2015 governorship election in the state having scored the highest number of lawful votes of the total votes cast at the said election.

“An order compelling the INEC to present to the first petitioner, certificate of return as the validly and lawfully elected governor of the state in April 11,2015 governorship election”.

According to Isiaka who was represented by his Counsel, Adetunji Oyeyipo, SAN, the issue for determination by the Tribunal was that “whether in view of the oral and documentary evidence before this tribunal, the election of the Respondent as governor of the state oughtn to be voided for being marred by malpractices and substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral Act 2010 as amended.

sers shall also get his verdict on the impending day, which the Tribunal see in section 179 (2) of the 1999 constitution as amended.Gboyega Isiaka

The result of the election was declared April 12,2015 , by the INEC where Amosun was credited as having scored 306,988 votes while Isiaka was credited with 201,440 votes.

Dissatisfied with the election and return of Amosun and APC at the election by INEC , Isiaka challenged it by presenting a petition to the registry of the Tribunal on April 30,2015.

On July 7,2015, the Tribunal commenced a pre-hearing session proceeding and struck out the about 125 names joined as respondents from the petition as being unnecessary persons cited.

At the early stage of the Petition, Isiaka, a petitioner indicated his interest to call eight witnesses just as Amosun, the first respondent promised to call 28 witnesses while his party, APC which is second respondent said it would call 11 witnesses and INEC, the third respondent said it would call one witness.

But, at the hearing of the petition, the Petitioners called nine witnesses, one of whom was a Deputy Director of operations of  INEC, Samuel Ogunjemilua otherwise referred to as PW8. He was called in pursuant to a writ of ‘subpoena duce tecum’ to produce certified true Copies of the election results at the polling units, wards, and local governments along with the result collated at the State level. He also produced certified true copies of voters registers for the nine disputed local governments, the original ballot papers used for the election in the nine councils, the manual for election officials 2015 issued by INEC, certified true copies of incident forms used for the elections in the nine councils.

Amosun who had pledged to call 28 witnesses eventually called just four while his party which had promised to call 11 witnesses did not call any witness. INEC which had indicated interest to call one witness did not call any.

The grounds/complaints

Isiaka predicated his petition on nine grounds which were; that the election was marred by electoral malpractices such as rigging, snatching of ballot of boxes, thuggery, violence , declaration of false results, falsification and forgery of result sheets, importation of voters from a foreign location, stuffing of ballot boxes with ballot papers, misuse of card readers and permanent voters cards.

Isiaka also stressed that the conduct of the election was characterised by manifested act of bias, nepotism and favouritism to the benefit of Amosun.

He also said the governorship election conducted by INEC in the state was characterised by non compliance with the provisions of electoral Act 2010 as amended.

“Votes were cast at unauthorised, illegal and secret polling units and voting points .

“That the first respondent (Amosun) was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast at the April 11,2015 governorship election in the state.

“The elections conducted in Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Odeda, Ewekoro, Ifo, Obafemi-Owode, Ado-Odo/Ota, Sagamu and Remo North local government areas of the state were invalid.

“Unlawful and illicit use of incident forms in lieu of card readers contrary to INEC guidelines on the conduct of the election . Voting without accreditation,   non-use of card readers and the incidence forms which is against the INEC guidelines.

“That the first respondent (Amosun) was not validly returned as the person duly elected in the governorship election of the state”.

Isiaka’s relief and prayers

Isiaka in his petition sought some relief which he urged the Tribunal to grant in the interest of fairness and justice.

The relief is that the Tribunal should give an order that the governorship election of April 11,2015 conducted by the INEC and Resident electoral Commissioner in the state who were referred to as third and fourth respondents was marred by malpractices, fraud, corrupt practices and outright rigging.

He also urged the Tribunal to “order that the first respondent (Amosun) was not duly elected and did not score the lawful majority votes cast at the April 11,2015 governorship election in the state and ought not have been returned by the INEC .

“An order that the total number of lawful votes cast at the April 11,2015, governorship election in the state were for the petitioners and the first petitioner ought to have been returned by the third respondent (INEC).

“An order that the votes allegedly scored or credited to Amosun and his party in Ifo, Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Sagamu, Odeda, Obafemi-Owode, Remo North, Ado-Odo/Ota and Ewekoro local government areas of the state are invalid on the ground of malpractices, corruption practices, fraud, ballot snatching, ballot stuffing and outright rigging.

“An order that the governorship election of April 11, 2015 in Ogun state suffers non-compliance with the electoral Act 2010 as amended. And an order declaring the first petitioner, Isiaka as the winner of April 11,2015 governorship election in the state having scored the highest number of lawful votes of the total votes cast at the said election.

“An order compelling the INEC to present to the first petitioner, certificate of return as the validly and lawfully elected governor of the state in April 11,2015 governorship election”.

According to Isiaka who was represented by his Counsel, Adetunji Oyeyipo, SAN, the issue for determination by the Tribunal was that “whether in view of the oral and documentary evidence before this tribunal, the election of the Respondent as governor of the state ought not to be voided for being marred by malpractices a day substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral Act 2010 as amended.

To prove his case, Isiaka presented some charts which showed, according to him, what really transpired at the election in the nine disputed local governments. The charts, according to the petitioners contained the report of the electoral document prepared by one of his witnesses , Benjamin Adekunle and his team with the forms EC8A data off-loaded from the card reader machine, the manual for election officials 2015 and voters’ registers used for the conduct of the elections in the said nine disputed local government areas.

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