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6 guber election petitions undecided

By Dayo Benson, Political Editor
NO fewer than six governorship election petitions and related cases are pending before tribunals, Appeal Courts and Supreme Court over two years after the 2007 general election.

While three of the cases are being tried afresh by the governorship election petition tribunals, two are before the apex court and one has been adjourned indefinitely.

With long period which election petitions take before completion, there is the likelihood that some of the cases may not be completed before the 2011 polls.

States where such cases are pending include Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Delta, Rivers and Niger.

Except in Rivers and Niger where issues rising from the lower tribunals are before the Supreme Court, petitions in the three South-West states are being held afresh while that of Delta is adjourned.

In Ekiti for instance, Action Congress candidate Mr. Kayode Fayemi who is challenging Governor Segun Oni’s victory after a re-run election is still waiting on INEC to produce election materials for inspection. On its part, Governor Oni intends to call about 500 witnesses to defend his mandate.

Senator Ibikunle Amosu of the All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP last Thursday closed his case before the tribunal sitting in Abeokuta while Governor Gbenga Daniel of the People’s Democratic Party PDP would open his defence in two weeks time.

In Osun, AC candidate Engr. Rauf Aregbesola is seeking to tender as exhibit the finger print forensic analysis of late Adrian Forty through another person in his case against Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, but the counsel to the governor was opposed to the move during the hearing last week.

The case of Mr. Peter Okocha of AC against Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State is the only one out of the six that had been adjourned indefinitely. The tribunal is expected to communicate resumed hearing date to counsel to both parties.

The cases in Rivers and Niger which are currently before the Supreme Court are post-election petition issues because the matter had been determined in favour of Governors Rotimi Amaechi and Babangida Aliyu at the appellate courts.

Not satisfied, petitioners in the two cases went to the Supreme Court. In River, Accord Party candidate Benkilo Soburekon is challenging Amaechi on the ground that his passport photograph was unlawfully removed from the ballot paper.

Also, Governor Aliyu of Niger State is still being tackled by ANPP candidate David Umoru, who claimed that the Court of Appeal which affirmed the governor’s victory did so in error.


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