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Friday, 14 November 2014

Update On Ekiti Election Tribunal Sitting In Abuja

Trial ended yesterday in Abuja at the Ekiti Governorship Election Tribunal, with Governor Ayodele Fayose and three others asking the tribunal to dismiss the petition by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Fayose, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) closed their cases after tendering some documents as exhibits.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) concluded its case the previous day, during which it called the Ekiti PDP Secretary, Tope Deji Aluko, as its witness.

Aluko told the tribunal that the election was “peaceful, transparent, free and fair”. The party’s lawyer, Robert Emukperuo, tendered some documents in support of his client’s case.

The APC filed the petition challenging the results of the June 21 governorship election won by PDP candidate Fayose.

APC alleged that the election was manipulated by the Federal Government in favour of the PDP.

The party asked the tribunal to “unravel the hidden facts surrounding the election”, saying the poll was more of “a mechanical exercise than the conventional casting of votes.” The party also challenged the qualification of Fayose for the election.

APC stated that Fayosehad an ongoing criminal case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It cited manipulation and undue militarisation of the election, as well as impeachment of the governor as grounds for the petition.

Fayose’s lawyer, Yusuf Ali, who adopted the evidence given the previous day by the PDP, also tendered some documents, including a report of the panel earlier set up to impeach his client.

The October 12, 2006 report was signed by seven members of the panel headed by Remi Bamigboye.

The report was titled: “ Report of the Investigative Panel into allegations of gross misconduct against His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Mrs. Biodun Olujinmi ,delivered this day, Thursday, October 12, 2006.”

The concluding part of the report reads: “The conclusion of the panel is that having regard to Section 36 of the 1999 and the sensitive nature of the allegations against the governor and his deputy, and failure of the House of Assembly to appear before the panel, the panel concluded that all allegations of gross misconduct against the governor and his deputy, as contained in the notice of impeachment dated September 26, 2006 are deemed abandoned by the House of Assembly.

“The panel under the relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution and applicable substantive laws of the land hereby dismisses the case of the petitioner.”

COAS lawyer O. Sadiku tendered four newspaper publications –January 21, 2012 edition of Punch; July 7, 2012 of The Vanguard; September 4, 2012 of Punch and October 19, 2012 of Punch.

Sadiku did not call any witness. He told the tribunal that his sole witness was not available.

Lawyer to the IGP Abdulrasheed Ajana tendered a report on the election by the Commissioner of Police (Election) Ekiti State Command, Ikechukwu A. Aduba, dated June 21.

Although the petitioner’s lawyer, Wale Aina, opposed the admission of the report, on the ground that it was not a public document, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Mahammed Sirajo, in a ruling, held otherwise.

He held that since the report was authored by a public officer in the course of his official duties, the report qualified as a public document. The judge admitted the document.

The report reads: “Result of unit six (6) Odogo under ward 9 in Ikole Local Government Area was cancelled due to the snatching of the ballot box by Peter Alabi of Odo Ayedun-Ekiti an APC agent, who pretended to cast his vote and ran into the bush with the ballot box.

“When pursued by the security agents, he tore the ballot papers therein and escaped. INEC subsequently cancelled the unit’s result. Where we experienced snatching of ballot box and tearing of ballot papers in which suspect mentioned is presently at large.”

At the conclusion of Ajana’s case, the tribunal chairman thanked lawyers for their friendly disposition and cooperation.

He adjourned till December 17 for adoption of parties’ final written addresses.

The Nation

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