By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN— THE Appeal Court in Ibadan, has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the 2007 elections in Osun State, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola.
Aregbesola is challenging the confirmation of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the governor of the state.
When the case came up yesterday, the Presiding Justice, Hon Justice Clara Ogunbiyi and other members of the panel-Justices M.L. Garba, P.A. Galinge,C.C Nweze, and A. Jauro, after adopting their briefs, counsels to parties in the case, were given about 30 minutes to argue their briefs. Aregbesola’s legal team was led by Ebun Sofunde.
But Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, was the one that argued the case. Other lawyers of the ACN candidate were Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, Mr. Kola Awodein, SAN, Mr. Deji Sasegbon and Professor Yemi Osibajo among others.
Oyinlola was represented by more than 70 lawyers led by Mr. Yussuf Alli, SAN, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, Kunle Kalejaye, SAN, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, Nathaniel Oke, SAN among others.
Olujimi asked the court to declare Aregbesola the winner of the election after nullifying the results of the election in 10 local government areas of the state.
He argued that there was massive irregularities in the conduct of the election and that INEC failed to reply to all the allegations of irregularities and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006.
According to Olujimi, their alleged failure to challenge any aspect of the evidence tendered by the petitioner was tantamount to abandonment of their case.
Again, he contended that in exhibit 92 which relates to Boripe Local Government, the 14,497 votes declared by INEC were more than the 12,631 voters that were registered and yet the lower tribunal which delivered its judgment on 28th May, 2010 did not consider it.
The INEC, he alleged failed to announce and count the results of the affected place and also failed to produce voters’ register which is important in any election.
He told the court that “there are 10 local governments that the appellants are complaining about and if your lordships agree with the issues raised, you would see that the petitioner has more votes than the respondent. You would see that he should be declared the winner of the election.”
He prayed the court to allow the appeal and declare his client as the winner of the election.
Replying him, Alli said the appellant failed to plead the issue of over voting and that Aregbesola should not be allowed at this stage to change the rule of the game.
He said the evidence adduced had not proved the case brought before the tribunal.
Alli said, “on the issue of Boripe, your lordship would see on pages 62-71 of the petition that the issue of over voting was never pleaded. The appellant should not be allowed at this stage to change the rule when the game is almost over”.
He faulted the cases of Kayode Fayemi and Segun Oni which Olujimi cited, saying the case was based on peculiar facts and circumstances.
On the analysis of finger printing, the counsel argued that the analyst only did 10 per cent and could not be taken to be a conclusive work.
But, countering him, Olujimi said that all the analyses of the ballot papers had been done before the death of Adrian Forty and that it was only the review that he could not conclude