The Ogun State Election Petitions Tribunal on Thursday said that it had fixed Saturday, September 30, to deliver judgment in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, to challenge the victory of Governor Dapo Abiodun in the March 18 governorship election.
The secretary to the tribunal, Obioma Ezenta, disclosed this in a phone conversation with our correspondent.
Reacting to the news, both the ruling All Progressives Congress and the PDP expressed optimism of securing victory, assuring their supporters to stay calm and hopeful.
Speaking with our correspondent, the media aide to the PDP governorship candidate, Afolabi Orekoya, said the party had argued its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Orekoya said, “It is true that we have been given the reserved date for judgment on our petition against INEC, Mr Dapo Abiodun and the APC.
We have been able to prove our case that he (Abiodun) did not win the March 18 governorship election and that INEC ought not to have made a declaration. We proved this by tendering enough documents as evidence for all the 99 polling units affected, calling 94 witnesses including INEC ad hoc staff who worked directly in some of the cancelled polling units.
“The good thing is that during trials, all the respondents, including INEC, agreed that polling units were cancelled as a result of violence and attacks. We could also see that INEC did not deny that the documents tendered did not originate from them. One very grievous electoral malpractice that we established was the ballot papers that were marked and those with multiple impressions.
“Based on all of these, we have absolute confidence in the tribunal to deliver true justice that will meet the yearnings of the people of Ogun State. We strongly believe that we will get good justice and take over the affairs of the state from mishandlers and provide good governance that is people-oriented.”
But the Publicity Secretary of the Ogun APC, Tunde Oladunjoye, said the ruling party had nothing to be anxious about as it was glaring the party convincingly won the March 18 governorship election with the support of God and the people of state.
Oladunjoye said, “We are feeling very hopeful having known we worked and earned the victory with the support of God and the good people of Ogun State who voted for continuity. We believe justice would be done.
“There is no anxiety anywhere as we believe that not only did the PDP lose the governorship election, but the party also presented a porous petition that can’t survive judicial scrutiny. We call on our supporters to be calm and prayerful.”
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Hamidu Kunaza, had on September 3 reserved judgment in the case after the parties adopted their written addresses and canvassed final arguments.
Abiodun’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), had asked the court to dismiss Adebutu’s petition for lacking in merit, pointing out that the documents were neither signed nor stamped.
But Adebutu’s lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN), argued that all the documents presented by the petitioners before the tribunal emanated from INEC.
Uche urged the tribunal to sack Abiodun and install Adebutu.