The Osun State Election Petitions Tribunal on Friday adjourned for judgment, on the petition filed by the state’s former gov, Gboyega Oyetola, challenging the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party in the July 16 governorship election.
The Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Tertsea Kume, reserved the judgment for a later day to be communicated to parties after the petitioner and respondents had adopted their final written addresses in Osogbo, the state capital.
Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress had on August 5, submitted a petition before the tribunal in Osogbo.
Oyetola and APC were challenging the election results from 749 polling units across 10 local government areas of the state for various alleged electoral malpractice, especially over-voting.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Adeleke as the winner of the governorship election, having polled 403, 271 votes against 375,027 polled by Oyetola.
Earlier, Counsel to APC, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) in his final written address, said all documents and processes were filed and submitted on January 8.
Fagbemi adopted all submitted written documents and objections on point of law and also argued all objections earlier filed by the respondents, asking the court to accede to all his submissions and requests.
Fagbemi cited sections 51 (2) and 47(2) of the Electoral Act on the cancellation of polling units where the number of votes exceeded the number of registered and accredited voters.
Also, Mr Akin Olujimi, SAN, counsel to Oyetola, said the testimonial tendered by Gov. Adeleke did not show that he attended Muslim Grammar School in Ede.
Olujimi dismissed the claim by the respondents that Governor Adeleke was eligible to contest the election and he submitted that the testimonial that Adeleke tendered was fake because it was obtained in 1988 from Osun State, while Osun was actually created in 1991.
According to him, the respondent should have pleaded that the mistake was a typographical issue but which they never did.
Olujimi said all the documents tendered by the respondent’s counsel had no connection with each other, with no probative value.
INEC Counsel, Prof. Paul Ananaba, SAN, in his own submissions, tendered to the court his final written addresses dated December 30, 2022, and filed the same date, with replies on points of law dated January 9 and filed January 11 respectively.
Ananaba adopted all documents submitted as his final written address, saying the duty of INEC was to certify that the respondent, Adeleke, was qualified to contest the governorship election which they did.
He said, “the petitioners complained of over-voting and infractions by picking 749 polling units to contend with from 1750 polling units, according to the first respondent witnessed (RW1).
“If the deduction of 1750 units was carried out from the total 3763 units in the state, the second respondent will still emerge as the winner with over 20,000 votes.”
Mr Onyechi Ikpeazu, Counsel to Gov. Ademola Adeleke, also adopted all the tendered documents filed as its final written address and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitioner’s application against his client.
Ikpeazu said that the argument against Adeleke’s certificates and eligibility to contest the governorship election had been addressed by the Court of Appeal.
On the issue of the over-voting claim, Ikpeazu told the court that certified true copies of documents of accreditation were done through the BVAS machines, adding that BVAS was the primary source of accreditation.
He further argued that extraction from the INEC database was not the same as extraction from the BVAS machines.
Ikpeazu said that the petitioners’ agents did not contest the results of any polling units on the day of the election, despite that they also signed the results which were authentic.
”The entries in form EC8A tallied with figures on the forms as being contended by the petitioners.
“You can not determine over-voting proper without the application of the BVAS machines,” he said.
Counsel to PDP, Mr Alex Iziyon, SAN, also adopted all written documents filed and submitted on point of laws.
Iziyon said the issue of forgery of the certificate as contended by the petitioners had been cleared in the judgment of the Court of Appeal and had no value.
Elections: Cultists Masking As Party Support Groups In Rivers, Says Wike
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Monday said some party support groups in the state are a vehicle for thuggery and cult activities sponsored by disgruntled politicians ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Wike’s remarks follow reports that about 30 members of the Atiku Support Organisation were arrested by armed policemen during a meeting in the state capital.
The governor, in a state broadcast, called on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the state, which he said are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
“We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores,” he said.
“Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.”
The governor also called attention to the presence of “desperate politicians” whom he said are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
“I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
“Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State,” Wike added.
See the full transcript below:
STATE BROADCAST BY
HIS EXCELLENCY NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, CON, GSSRS, POS
ON THE RISING CULTISM AND RELATED
ACTIVITIES ACROSS RIVERS STATE
My dear people of Rivers State
The 2023 general elections are less than three weeks away. Political activities are in top gear, with political parties and candidates intensifying campaigns across the State.
2. We are happy with the generally peaceful campaigns except for the few isolated reported incidents of violence by sponsored rival cults, gangs and support groups in one or two political rallies.
3. We commend the security agencies for providing adequate security cover for all the political parties to carry on with their electioneering activities, including crowded rallies and meetings.
4. The State Government will continue to support the security agencies to sustain the prevailing atmosphere of peace and security for voters to exercise their voting rights without fear or intimidation before, during and after the elections.
5. I assure you that there is nothing to fear as the State government and the security agencies will spare no effort to keep Rivers State peaceful, safe and secure for citizens to go about their normal daily activities.
6. However, we, again, call on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the State, which are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
7. We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores.
READ ALSO: Atiku: Rivers PDP Takes Swipe On Wike
8. Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.
9. We are also aware that desperate politicians are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
10. I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
11. Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State.
12. Anyone with useful information about the camps, gatherings, plans and activities of these criminal elements and their sponsors should forward it to the security agencies for action.
13. I wish to restate that no amount of syndicated misinformation, campaigns of calumny, and diatribes by a section of the media and the political elites will deter the State Government from enforcing the laws of the State against those who vainly claim to be above them.
14. Unlike other States, we have refrained from using the State’s Neighbourhood Corps to enforce law and order by allowing the regular security agencies to do their constitutional work.
15. We pray we may not be forced to reconsider this position if the security agencies continue to encourage and offer protection to some politicians and party leaders to wantonly breach our laws.
16. Thank you, and may God bless Rivers State.
Tinubu’s Men Attack PDP Over N22.5bn Vote-buying Claim
The ruling All Progressives Congress has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party to provide Nigerians with evidence of the N22.5 billion stashed old notes that it alleged the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is desperately seeking to convert into new ones in Kano State.
This is even as the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign council wrote off the claim as a silly figment of the imagination of the opposition party.
The PDP had claimed in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday that it received intelligence that Tinubu and some party leaders are striving to swap the alleged money to facilitate its vote-buying plans ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, further disclosed that the PDP was convinced about the earlier notion that the APC in conjunction with some APC governors is responsible for the biting cash scarcity currently rocking the country.
Ologunagba said, “The party is aware that the N22.5 billion in old N1000 notes was allegedly kept in a Kano State Government facility before being moved to a particular old generation and a certain new generation bank where the regional heads were contacted by the APC presidential campaign to swap the old notes with new ones.
“Further information revealed that the cash is being warehoused by the Tinubu campaign for alleged vote buying in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Sokoto States. A particular APC state governor is reported to have taken delivery of N500 million new Naira notes to actualize the vote buying plot.”
When contacted, the Chief Spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, stated that it would be a waste of time to reply to the allegation.
“I have only one sentence for that. It is an irresponsible statement that does not deserve a response,” he said.
The PCC Director of Media and Communication, Bayo Onanuga, debunked the report, saying the PDP is living up to its fame of coming up with frivolous claims.
He challenged the leadership of the opposition party to cut to the chase by providing concrete evidence to back up its claim.
He stated, “Let them provide the evidence if they uncovered such. It is not enough to dish out cock and bull stories in the name of press Releases. Making senseless allegations every passing day which has become the hallmark of the PDP campaign is not how to win the election.
“Nigerians can’t forget a party of people that looted over $ 2 billion dollars meant for arms procurement when Boko Haram was killing our citizens and almost took over three states in the northeast.
“We challenge PDP to bring out any evidence of their latest allegation otherwise the party of looters should hide its ugly face in perpetual shame.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Director of APC, Bala Ibrahim, urged the PDP to head to the court, security agencies and regulatory bodies like the Independent National Electoral Commission instead of its usual media trial.
“Why issue a statement when you can prove your case in a competent court of law or a regulatory agent like INEC? There are statutory ways of dealing with it.
“I don’t know why people avoid using the court or investigative agencies to make their point. If they have proof, let them tender it. That’s why the courts, security agencies, and national financial units like EFCC and ICPC are there.
“It is obvious the PDP is seeing the sign of defeat and merely trying to rock the boat by coming up with all sorts of allegations to get public sympathy,” he stated.
Tinubu: APC Announces Indefinite Postponement Of Campaign Rally In Oyo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has postponed its presidential rally in Oyo State following the protests rocking the state.
The party made this announcement on Monday.
DAILY POST reports that the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been billed to visit Ibadan on Tuesday in continuation of his presidential campaign.
The party, however, said it will no longer be holding the campaign rally as earlier planned.
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Oyo State, Wasiu Olawale Sadare, confirmed the postponement.
Sadare in a short statement made available to journalists on Monday noted that the postponement became necessary in view of the crisis caused by the scarcity of new naira notes and petroleum.
Sadare in the statement sent to DAILY POST in Ibadan said, “We regret to announce the indefinite postponement of our presidential rally earlier slated for tomorrow (Tuesday).
“The decision was taken, apparently, in consideration to the prevailing challenges facing the people and the need to allow President Muhammadu Buhari work around the situation and ensure that normalcy return particularly as it concerns fuel and currency notes crisis”.
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