By Emmanuel Ajibulu
The Appeal Court sitting in Akure, Ondo State capital has dismissed the appeal challenging the victory of Hon. Joseph Iranola Akinlaja representing Ondo East/West Federal Constituency.
Akinlaja was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 28, 2015 election. The court rejected an appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. Olabamidele Olanubi, for lacking merit.
Olanubi had approached the appellate court to challenge the verdict of the election petitions tribunal. The court presided over by Justice Mohammed A. Danjuma, held that Olanubi’s appeal was a waste of resources and time. Danjuma said Olanubi’s appeal was lacking in merit which was why the lower tribunal earlier struck it out. The appellate court also stated that the APC candidate submitted unreliable documents to the court and subsequently presented unreliable evidence in his appeal.
Akinlaja, while reacting to his victory at the appellate court, said the judgment was good for Nigeria’s democracy, expressing gratitude to God for making the case to go in his favour whilst pouring encomium on Governor Olusegun Mimiko and his constituents in Ondo East and West Local Governments, for standing by him through the litigation period.
Asked on his advice to the petitioner, Akinlaja stated that Olanubi, in the interest of democracy, should join hands with him to move the state and constituency forward.
Lead counsel to Akinlaja, Mr. Remi Olatubora, on his part, commended the decision of the Court of Appeal saying it won’t be out of order if Justice Danjuma, after retirement, picks a job as a university lecturer, judging from his erudite delivery of the judgment.