The lawyer representing Ladi Adebutu, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, has denied reports that his client was arraigned on Monday before a high court in Abeokuta over alleged vote buying.
Muyiwa Obanewa said that Adebutu had not been served with any notice of a suit filed against him, and that he could not be arraigned unless he had been duly served.
“It is not true that Adebutu had been docked,” Obanewa said. “As we speak, he has not even been served, he is not even aware of it; and until you are aware and served with a court process, you cannot be alleged to have evaded the court. He has to be served before he can be arraigned.”
The reports of Adebutu’s arraignment came after the Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, pressed charges against Adebutu and nine others for allegedly involving in vote buying during the March 18 election.
The suit followed a petition written by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun, Yemi Sanusi, and made available to the police.
Obanewa said that the case was politically motivated, and that it could not stand the test of time. He pointed out that only five of the 10 defendants were served with the court papers, and that they all pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in “very lenient terms.”
He also argued that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the power to sue an individual over matters of electoral offences.
“The duty to investigate electoral matters is that of INEC and not the Chairman of APC in Ogun State,” Obanewa said. “We will meet them in court. We are waiting for the APC Chairman to even come and give evidence.”
He explained that INEC, which is the only one that can initiate criminal prosecutions involving electoral offences, was not aware of the case and was not a party to it.
Obanewa said that he was ready to defend the defendants in the matter, and that he had seen the proof of evidence and concluded that the case was “purely political.”