By OLA AJAYI
IBADAN- AFTER five months of legal tussle, the Oyo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal Thursday dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, against the winner of the April 26 governorship election, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The state chapter of the PDP had alleged that the declaration of the governor was not in order because he did not comply with some sections of the Electoral Act 2010.
Specifically, the party which came second in the election argued that Governor Ajimobi was not qualified to contest the election because he had dual citizenship of Nigeria and the United States of America.
While dismissing the petition, the three-man-panel led by Muazu AbdulKadir Pindiga, Idris Kutigi and Ebiyerin Omukoro, said the party failed to prove its claims against the governor.
According to the panel, it was impossible for it to obtain any document on behalf of the petitioner which it failed to produce.
He said, “The burden of proof depends on circumstances of the case. He who invokes the act of law should be the first to prove it. From the above, the burden of proof depends on the plaintiff. It is bereft of key point of credibility, the failure to produce the documents is fatal to the presentation of this case.”
The leader of the panel said “It is also not his case that he has renounced his citizenship of Nigeria. A person can be issued American Green Card, yet, he does not lose his citizenship of Nigeria.
The tribunal said, the law is like the sun rising in the east and setting in the West.
With the world becoming a global village, the quest for citizenship is reviewing the law guiding it.
The panel did not agree with counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Nathaniel Oke on his claims that the respondent failed to give any evidence in respect of the allegations against him on dual citizenship.
It said, “The argument of the counsel to the respondent is misconceived that the respondent did not disprove the claims with evidence”.
After dismissing the petition and describing the petition as being speculative, the panel also awarded the cost of N10,000 to the respondents.
Earlier, efforts by some estranged members of the Action Alliance, AA, to prevail on the panel to put on hold the judgment was not successful.
They had claimed in a motion that the petition that was withdrawn by the governorship candidate of the party, Mr. Taiwo Otegbeye did not affect the case AA had with the respondent, Ajimobi.
The estranged AA members said through their counsel, Mr. Bolarinwa Lawal that it was the candidate that withdrew his petition and not the party. But, the panel struck the motion out before giving the judgment.
Counsel to the petitioner, Oke, SAN, while reacting to the judgment said, “When a case is presented before the court, it is either agreed with or not. Whether the case is well considered based on the prevalent condition in Nigeria or not, we shall see.”