After much hullabaloo, the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure on Monday, finally dismissed the petition filed by the Accord Party’s (AP) candidate, James Ojo, against the victory of Dr Olusegun Mimiko, for incompetence and abuse of court processes.
The three-men panel of judges also struck out that of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)’ s candidate, Olusoji Ehinlanwo against the re-election of the incumbent governor of the state.
While dismissing the AP’s petition, the tribunal held that the petition was “incompetent, abuse of court process, fundamental and incurably defective”.
Among the major decisions taken by the tribunal yesterday were, the striking out of the name of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the petition filed by its governorship candidate, Chief OlusolaOke, and the removal of substantive paragraphs of the PDP candidate’s petition, because they were vague and speculative and 20 paragraphs of the petition of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for non joinder of necessary parties affected by the paragraphs.
Giving its ruling on the petition of the Accord Party, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Andovar Kaka’an, said the petition was defective as the deputy governorship candidate in an affidavit in support of the petition claimed that the party had no candidate for the election.
The tribunal added that in the affidavit of claim, the deputy governorship candidate also said that the election was free and fair, while also admitting that the party did not file the necessary papers.
Apart from this, the tribunal ruled that the petition lacked the basic requirements as contained in the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, saying basic information needed for the petition to hold were not available.
Kaka’an said the petition did not state whether the petitioner is a Nigerian, his age, his membership of a political party, adding that it did not state the scores of those that participated in the election.
The tribunal also stated that since the petitioner had filed an action before the Federal High Court sitting in Akure with the same parties and reliefs, the petition before the tribunal amounted to an abuse of court processes.
He said, “We hold that this petition is a complete abuse of court process, the petition also fell short of the provisions of Article 41 of the, the petition is fundamental and incurably defective”.
Striking out the petition of CPC, the tribunal also held that Ehinlanwo failed to give necessary information that qualify him to contest the election and file any petition before it.
It also held that since Ehinlanwo had agreed that he scored less than one per cent of the total votes cast in the election, it would be difficult for his petition to stand.
The tribunal held, “The petitioner is a day dreamer and the petition is a huge joke, since he has no petition against other political parties that participated in the election, how does he realise his dream of becoming the governor”.
Apart from this, the tribunal also struck out the name of PDP from the petition filed by its candidate on the premise that the party was not a proper party before it.
Ruling on the application brought by counsel to Mimiko, Chief Wole Olanipekun that the PDP had resolved not to challenge the result of the election and that the person that signed the petition on behalf of the party was not recognised, the tribunal held that Chris Omosuyi that signed the petition lacked the power to do so.
It held that the constitution of the PDP did not recognise the office of Director of Organisation, which Omosuyi claimed to be occupying.
Kaka’an said, “Omosuyi is an impostor in this matter, he is just an employee of the PDP and the constitution of the party does not recognise the office of Director of Organisation that he claims to be occupying.”
The tribunal in the five-hour ruling also struck out substantive part of the petition filed by Oke on the ground that they were vague, speculative, generic, unprecise and pre-election matter.
The tribunal noted that the affected paragraphs made serious allegations against some people and security agencies without specific mentioning of the areas where the act took place.
It stated that the petition did not mention specific polling unit, ward or local government areas where the actions being complained of took place, saying the affected paragraphs lead to nowhere.
In the same vein, the tribunal struck out same paragraphs from the petition filed by the ACN and that of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) as they failed to join the necessary parties.
The tribunal noted that the affected paragraphs made diverse and weighty allegations against some people and security agencies without joining the affected people in the petition.
It ruled that non joinder of necessary parties was fatal, adding that the rule of fair hearing states that anybody alleged to have committed an offence should be joined in a matter.
The tribunal has however adjourned hearing on remaining part of ACN and PDP’s petitions to tomorrow (Wednesday).