*Ask court to declare him winner
Adejoke Adeleye, Abeokuta
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State, Hon Oladipupo Adebutu has formally filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal seeking an order to sack the Governorship Candidate of All Progressive Congress candidate Prince Dapo Abiodun as winner.
Oladipupo in the petition to challenge Prince Dapo Abiodun as winner of the March 18 election asked the court to declare him as the winner of the election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on the 19th of March declared Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressive (APC) as the winner, having polled a total of 276,298 votes, Adebutu of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) polled a total of 262,383, while Biyi Otegbeye of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) came distant third with 9, 4754 votes.
Having not satisfied with the declaration,because the margins of cancelled votes due to distruption by political thugs is much more than the margins between the first and the second contestant, PDP candidate joined by a member of the legal team, Chief Gordy Uche, SAN, and party chieftains stormed the Tribunal secretariat at Isabo Magistrate court premises in Abeokuta to formally file voluminous copies of the petition.
With Adebutu and the PDP as first and second petitioners, the INEC, Abiodun and the APC were respectively marked as the first, second and third respondents.
Adebutu told newsmen shortly after filing the petition that “We are here today in continuation of our pursuit of our democratic rights because we have had elections that we truly believe we have represented the people fairly and the people have responded by voting fairly for us in an election we believe we won.
“We will continue to seek out mandate within the ambit of the law.”
Giving details of the petitions, Uche said it was filed on up to “four solid grounds”, hoping that the Tribunal “will do the best.”
He said “We have about three senior advocates on our team and a host of many other lawyers and many of them are lawyers who are not just because they being paid, but because of the fact that they believe that the mandate was stolen and they also believe this mandate can be retrieved.
“We have up to four grounds, very solid ones, but it will be sweeter when our opponent tell you the grounds.
“Our prayers are just that the right thing is done and the man who won is given the mantle of office.”
Our correspondent sited some of the prayers put forward by the aggrieved party including a declaration that the petitioner “won the highest number of valid votes cast at the election and satisfied the requirements of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ought to be returned and is returned as the winner of the Governorship election held in Ogun state on 18th March 2023.”
And in alternative, the petitioner prayed for an order of the Tribunal “directing 1st Respondent to conduct fresh election in the 99 polling units which cut across 41 wards and 16 Local Government Areas of Ogun State where elections were either not held and/or cancelled due to disruption and over-voting.
Some of the prayers read “(a). That it may be determined and declared that the 2nd Respondent was not qualified to contest the Governorship Election in Ogun State held on the 18th March 2023.
“(b). AN ORDER of this Honourable Tribunal disqualifying the 2nd Respondent as a candidate in the election held in Ogun State on 18th March 2023.
“(c). That it may be determined that all the votes recorded for the 2nd and 3rd Respondents in the Ogun State Governorship election held on 18th March 2023 are wasted and invalid votes.
“(d). That it may be determined and declared that the 2nd Respondent, was not duly elected or returned by a majority of lawful votes cast at the Governorship Election held in Ogun State on 18th March 2023.
“(e).That it may be determined and declared that the 1st Petitioner won the highest number of valid votes cast at the election and satisfied the requirements of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ought to be returned and is returned as the winner of the Governorship election held in Ogun state on 18th March 2023.
“(f). AN ORDER of this Honourable Tribunal setting aside the Certificate of Return dated 20th day of March 2023 wrongly issued to the 2nd Respondent by the 1st Respondent.
“(g). AN ORDER directing the 1st Respondent to immediately Issue a Certificate of Return to the 1st petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Ogun State.
“IN THE ALTERNATIVE: (h). AN ORDER of this Honourable Tribunal directing 1st Respondent to conduct fresh election in the 99 polling units which cut across 41 wards and 16 Local Government Areas of Ogun State where elections were either not held and/or cancelled due to disruption and over-voting.
“(i). AN ORDER of this Honourable Tribunal directing the 1st Respondent to conduct a fresh election for the office of Governor of Ogun State to the exclusion of the 2nd and 3rd Respondents.
“(J). Any further appropriate consequential relief(s) that this Honourable Tribunal may deem fit and expedient to make in this Petition.”