….Two judges give dissenting ruling
By Gbenga Ariyibi
The Justice Hama Bakar-led Governorship ElectionÂ Petition Tribunal sitting in Ekiti State, Wednesday, declared Mr. Segun Oni as the duly-electedÂ governor of the state and subsequently dismissed the petition of the Action Congress, AC, gubernatorial candidate in the 25 April 2009 re-run election, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as lacking merit.
Though, there was a dissenting judgment from the two members of the tribunal, the dissenting judgment which was read by Justice A.A. Adetara found merit inÂ Fayemiâ€™s petition, as he nullifiedÂ the election of Oni.
Fayemi had dragged Oni to the tribunal, challenging his victory during the 25 April 2009 supplementary election in the state.
Fayemi had, through his counsel, Malam Yusuf Ali, prayed the tribunal to nullify the election of Oni on accountÂ of alleged electoral malpractices andÂ non-compliance with the 2006 Electoral Act.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Bakar, in his judgment, analysed one after the order the merit and demerit in Fayemiâ€™s prayer
At the end of the day, he nullified the elections in certain wards in Ipoti Wards A and B and a Ward in Orin/ Ora for non-compliance substantially with the 2006 Electoral Act
After the deduction, in the overall scores in all the 16 local government areas of the state, Oni had,Â 109,391 votes against Fayemi’s 106,816.
On the allegation of manipulation and alteration of votes, the tribunal chairman said this must be proved beyond reasonable doubt
On the issue of molestation and the beaten up of election observers and journalists, Justice Bakar said the allegation borders on criminalityÂ and that the petitioner must show that the persons involved was the person whose election is being challenged and went on to cite the case of Buhari Vs Obasanjo.
Victory excites Oni
Meanwhile, Gov. Oni has said his victory at the tribunal belongs to God and the people of the state, adding; â€œWe thank God, the judiciary has once again lived up to expectations.â€
Oni, who moved to the Government House Chapel with his Deputy, Dr. Sikiru Lawal, state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Bola Olu Ojo and other top government functionaries for a thanksgiving service immediately after the judgment said he bore no grudges against anyone.
AC vows to appeal
Reacting to the judgment, in Ado-Ekiti, the state’s AC Chairman, Mr. Olajide Awe, yesterday, said the party would appeal the against it.
The judgment was on a petition filed by AC governorship candidate, Fayemi, in the 2009 re-run election against INEC declaration of Oni of PDP as the winner of the election.
Three out of the five-member tribunal in a majority judgment dismissed the petition on the ground that the petitioner failed to prove his case â€œbeyond reasonable doubts.â€
The majority judgment which was read by the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Hamma Barka declared that the petitioner failed to prove and establish the allegations of malpractices, corruption and non-compliance with Electoral Act pleaded in his petition.
But, the minority judgment read by Justice A. Adebara nullified Oniâ€™s election on the grounds of irregularities and declared Fayemi as the winner of the election.
Awe described the majority judgment as a â€œmumbo jumboâ€ which contained a lot of loopholes which the party was going to exploit at appeal. â€œThe majority judgment is a â€œmumbo jumboâ€ with a lot of loopholes which the party is going to exploit at appeal.”