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Gov. Abiodun floors Amosun’s protege Akinlade at tribunal

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The tribunal led by Justice Yusuf Halilu dismissed Akinlade’s petition for being “lazy, fictitious, malicious, and mischievous”.

Governor Abiodun was away with President Buhari in Burkina Faso on Saturday when the judgment that lasted about four hours was delivered. Amidst tight security, the tribunal began delivering judgment at at 10.15am and ended it at 2.38pm.

Akinlade also was not in court. Abiodun had polled 241,670 votes representing 35.49 per cent of the total votes to defeat the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, who scored 222, 153 votes about 32.62 per cent, according to results posted by INEC on March 11.

Akinlade, a former House of Representatives member, challenged Abiodun over his educational qualification and age and also alleged electoral irregularities such as over-voting.

He alleged that Abiodun’s Form CF00, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), contained false information, adding that the electoral body aided his qualification through the form.

According to the petitioner, the alleged false information was fundamental to Abiodun’s qualification to contest the election.

However, Justice Yusuf Halilu struck out Akinlade’s petition, saying that the “petition is destined to fail, fails and is hereby dismissed.”

The tribunal said that the petition was not proven and that it was incorrect to contend that Abiodun, who is the second respondent in the petition, was not duly elected for the position of governor of the state.

Akinlade had challenged results in 1070 polling booths across the state, but at the trial, he only brought fewer than 40 witnesses.

“It is unreasonable to do such and expect meaningful judgment,’’ Justice Halilu said

The panel described the argument canvassed by Akinlade’s counsel and the evidences given by the petitioner’s witnesses during the hearing as “lazy, shallow and deficient.”

On the allegation of over-voting, the panel held that out of over 1,000 polling units where illegalities and irregularities were alleged, the petitioner only called 34 polling agents to testify before the tribunal.

It said that the “the scanty and insufficient” witnesses called by the petitioner showed that an irredeemable damage had been done to the petition.

The tribunal further held that the petitioner’s witnesses failed to tender smart card reports and voter’s register to justify the alleged irregularities at polling units.

“The petitioner failed woefully to prove that the respondent did not score the majority of lawful votes cast and we so hold.

“This petition is destined to fail, it failed and it is hereby dismissed,” Justice Halilu declared.

Earlier, the panel had quashed some issues while delivering its rulings on two preliminary objections.

In determining the issue about Abiodun’s qualification, the panel in a unanimous ruling, held that the matter was a pre-election matter which ought to have been challenged within 14 days after the Form CF001 had been submitted to INEC.

The panel agreed with the respondent’s counsel that the preliminary objection was statute-barred and thereby dismissed it.

It also held that the matter had been put to rest by the Appeal Court, hence the tribunal was bound by the judgment.

At the court session in Isabo, Abeokuta were former Ogun deputy governor, Senator Adegbega Kaka, another ex-deputy governor, Mr Segun Adesegun, Speaker of Ogun House of Assembly, Mr Olakunke Oluomo and Chief of Staff to Gov. Abiodun, Alhaji Salisu Shuaib.

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