…panel says petitioners failed to prove allegations of rigging
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Ekiti State Governorship Election Tribunal, Friday, affirmed Governor Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the bonafide winner of the governorship election that held in the state on June 21.
A three-man panel of Justices at the Tribunal which conducted its proceeding in Abuja, dismissed the petition that was filed against Fayose by the All Progressives Congress, APC.
APC had in its petition, not only challenged the outcome of the election which it said “witnessed an unprecedented level of rigging, manipulation of voters register and wide spend election malpractices”, but also queried the legal qualification of Governor Fayose to participate in the process.
The petitioner argued that Fayose was in 2006, found guilty of embezzlement and violation of code of conduct for public officers, following which he was impeached from office.
The opposition party relied on the provision of 182 (1) (j) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, and contended that Fayose ought not have been allowed to participate in the election, adding that the Higher National Diploma certificate he purportedly obtained from the Federal Polytechnic in Ibadan, upon which he was cleared to contest, was forged.
Consequently, APC, sought the nullification of the election over alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act, even as it requested for the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Fayose by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It told the tribunal that the provision of sections 19 and 20 of the Electoral Act which made it mandatory that the voters register must be displayed at least 30 days before the election, was not complied with, adding that armed Soldiers and Police men were used to arrest and detain several chieftains of the party.
It contended that the action of the security men led to the disenfranchisement of its members, stressing that the number of people whose names were ticked in the register that was used for the election, dis not correspond with number of people that actually voted.”