Ogun : Election tribunal reserves judgment in Adebutu’s petition against Abiodun

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The Ogun State election petition tribunal has reserved judgment in the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ladi Adebutu.

The tribunal resumed on Monday for parties to adopt their final addresses, after they had called witnesses and tendered documents in evidence.

The petitioners were represented in court by Chris Uche; the first respondent, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by Remi Olatubora; Wole Olanipekun stood in for Governor Dapo Abiodun, the second respondent; and Onyechi Ikpeazu led the counsel for the third respondent, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

While adopting their written addresses, the respondents urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition of Adebutu and the PDP.

Counsel to INEC, Olatubora argued that the documents tendered by the petitioners were inadmissible because “they were not the makers of those documents.”

In his submission, Olanipekun stated that the documents tendered by the petitioners were not signed, even though they were certified by INEC.

Olanipekun stated that “unsigned documents are worthless, baseless, valueless, inadmissible and void ab initio. I urge your lordships to dismiss the petition.”

APC counsel, Ikpeazu said the petitioners did not state the particular polling units where there was over-voting or non-compliance.

Ikpeazu maintained that the entire evidence on over-voting has no platform, asking the tribunal to “dismiss the petition.”

Responding, Uche urged the election court to discountenance the submissions of the respondents.

Uche urged the tribunal to hold that “the petitioners have a credible evidence which was unchallenged and are entitled to the grant of the reliefs claimed by them in the petition.”

He described as scandalous, the attempt by INEC to discredit the same documents it issued and certified, saying the commission has not come out to deny the documents or present counter documents.

On the margin of lead principle, Uche held that elections were not disrupted due to resistance to the use of BVAS.

He said INEC reports confirmed that thugs disrupted the election and INEC did not bring any other report or to counter the incident reports from its ad hoc staff, adding that “the respondents’ witnesses also confirmed there were gunshots and people ran away.”

The counsel pleaded the court to grant the prayers of the petitioners, saying INEC has no evidence by falling to call witnesses and resting his case on that of the petitioners.

Meanwhile, the Hamidu Kunaza-led tribunal appreciated the parties for their cooperation since the commencement of the proceedings.

The tribunal adjourned, saying, “judgment is reserved until a date to be communicated to parties.”

Addressing newsmen after the proceeding, INEC counsel said, “as counsel to INEC, we have defended INEC and we have made it clear to the court that the election conducted by INEC was free, fair and the court should uphold the election.”

Olatubora spoke further that, “the decision is that of the court, as counsels we have put in all that we are required under the law to put in, we have put necessary evidence by a way of evidence extracted during the cross examination.

“We have also put legal arguments, legal submission, but the ultimate decision is with the court and I prayed that God Almighty will guide them in giving a just decision in this case.”

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