The Oyo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Ibadan on Tuesday upheld the victory of Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and dismissed the petition of Sen. Rashidi Ladoja of Accord Party.
Ladoja had filed a petition challenging the declaration of Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the governorship election of April 11 in Oyo State.
Delivering the judgment, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muhammed Mayaki, said that the result of an election in law is presumed to be in order until proved otherwise. Mayaki said that it lies on the petitioner to prove to the tribunal that the election did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act and this must done beyond reasonable doubt. He said that the lead witness of the petitioner, Mr Bimbo Adepoju, who led the inspection of the electoral materials, was a farmer and not an expert.
Mayaki said that an expert witness was very necessary in an election petition case and the tribunal could not rely on the evidence of a witness who was not an expert. He said that the inspection of voter cards, voter registers, ballot papers and other electoral documents should have been carried out by an expert for it to be relied on by the tribunal. The chairman also said that the documents tendered before the court by the petitioner were not linked to the evidence of the witness and therefore regarded as merely dumped before the tribunal.
He said that the petitioner had failed to prove the allegation of corruption, malpractices, irregularities and manipulation levelled against the respondent. Mayaki , therefore, dismissed the petition and upheld the declaration of Ajimobi as the winner of the April 11 governorship election in Oyo State. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that also joined in the petition were APC, INEC and its Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Rufus Akeju.
Ladoja, had through this counsel, Richard Ogunwole (SAN), informed the court that the election was marred by corruption, manipulation, irregularities and malpractices. Ogunwole urged the tribunal to nullify Ajimobi’s election and declare his client as the winner of the election or order a rerun. Reacting to the judgment, Ogunwole said that he was not satisfied with the judgment of the tribunal, adding that his client would appeal it. On his part, Olalekan Ojo, one of the counsel to Ajimobi, said the tribunal had done an excellent job, adding that he was satisfied with the judgment.