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Ekiti: Tribunal adopts addresses, defers verdict

By Gbenga Ariyibi
The Justice Hamma Barka-led Election Petition Tribunal sitting  in Ekiti State Tuesday adjourned judgement to a later date in a petition filed by Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Action Congress, AC, gubernatorial candidate in 25 April 2009 governorship election re-run in the state challenging the victory of Engr Segun Oni, as the tribunal adopted the written addresses of  all the parties.

However, the first petitioner , Fayemi urged the tribunal to nullify the election that returned Segun Oni as the governor and declare him the winner of the election.

The lead counsel to the first petitioner, Mallam Yusuff Alli, SAN, in his response to the prayer of  Oni that the
tribunal should dismiss Fayemi’s petition, argued  that there were sharp electoral malpractices in all the six wards of Orin/Ora, Usi Ward, Ipoti Wards 1 and 2, adding that there was no election at all  at Ifaki Wards 1 and 2.Oni asks Fayemi to proof he actually won the election

Alli said his client was not contesting the results of all the 177 wards in the  state  but   the results of only six wards where there were allegations of electoral discrepancies.

On the position of counsel to the 5th and 6th respondents, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, that the  onus of proof rests on the first  petitioner to prove that there was no election in some of the places where election re-run took place, Alli  who relied on  the authority  of Emordi Vs Igbeke, said the onus of proof  had been shifted from the petitioner to the respondent to prove that there was an election and that he had actually won the election.

He further disclosed that his client made efforts to lay his hands on the results of the election but that his efforts were frustrated by the officials of the  Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who according to him, failed to make the results available.

Earlier, in his written address , counsel to the first respondent, Mr Adebayo Adenipekun SAN,urged the court to dismiss the application of the  applicants on the ground of irregularities of his prayers/ submission. According to the legal practitioner, Fayemi has erred when in his submission he pleaded with the tribunal to nullify the results of the election on the ground that there was no election, and that the election was not known to law.

He added that the petitioner has a “burden to prove that there was election but unknown to law.”

Adenipekun stated that the petitioner ought to bring all the electoral materials used during the election to the tribunal, adding that where they alleged falsification they must bring two results.

In his own submission counsel to the  5th and 6th respondents i e [returning officers] ], Mr Tayo Oyetibo argued that the petition must fail  not only on point of law  but on fact  on the ground that they could not produce the results of the election Oyetibo who cited the case of Buhari Vs Obasanjo, submitted that the petitioner cannot be returned in an election that is not known to law.

After the submission of both parties, chairman of the tribunal, Justice Barka assured that the tribunal would be fair to all the parties and would communicate them on the date of its judgement.


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