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Tribunal Dismisses Oyo APC Rep, Odebunmi’s Petition, Upholds Makanjuola Of PDP’s Victory

The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting at Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State capital has dismissed the petition filed by the three-term All Progressives Congress (APC) member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Odebunmi Olusegun Dokun, against the victorious candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Hon. Ojo Sunday Makanjuola who won the February 25, 2023 election.

The tribunal comprising Justices Elias Abua (Chairman), James Dadi and Ngbor-Abina in their unanimous judgment which upheld the election conducted by INEC, declared that the petition of Odebunmi (a.k.a. Bunvic) who was representing the Surulere/Ogo Oluwa federal constituency, lacked merit as he and his party were unable to prove the allegation of over-voting and non-compliance levelled against the PDP winner and the electoral umpire.

Represented by M.B. Owolabi, the petitioners had joined the INEC, Makanjuola and the PDP as defendants, while praying the tribunal for an order declaring the election as invalid, null and void, and thus called for a rerun of it.

While Aderemi Ajiboye represented the INEC as the first respondent, Festus Adesiyan and Joseph Adeoye represented Makanjuola, while Oluwasesan Dada and Adetunji Muraina represented the PDP.

The petitioners had claimed that the voting was not done in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act as the number of votes returned in the election exceeded the number of accredited voters in some units.

“To the mind of the tribunal with reference to the precedent in Oyetola v. Adeleke, however, “reliance cannot be placed on the claim of over-voting where BVAS report was not tendered”.

The tribunal faulted the procedure where some witnesses were called to testify on behalf of the real persons who witnessed the acts complained about instead of such eye witnesses coming to court to give direct evidence. Such testimony was considered hearsay and the contents of the documents tendered mere documentary hearsay.

In its judgment, the tribunal, therefore, submitted that “having scored the highest majority of lawful votes cast in spite of the alleged over-voting which score is far from that of the 2nd respondent, the tribunal hereby orders that the petition lacks merit, and it is hereby dismissed”.

On the issue of cost to be awarded against the petitioners for bringing the petition, the Judges however said that “the parties are to bear their costs”, it said.

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