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Tribunal reserves judgement in Adebutu’s petition against Abiodun

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Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Monday, reserved judgement in the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu against the victory of Governor Dapo Abiodun in the March 18 election.

At the resumed sitting of the Tribunal, all parties adopted their final written addresses for judgement to be delivered at a later date by Justice Hamidu Kunaza’s three-man panel.

Adebutu and his party, PDP, were represented by Chris Uche while the first respondent, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by Remi Olatubora and Abiodun who is the second respondent, was represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun stood in for Governor Dapo Abiodun, the second respondent; and Onyechi Ikpeazu led the counsel for the third respondent, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The respondents while adopting their final written addresses prayed the Tribunal to dismiss Adebutu’s and his party’s petition.

Olatubora while addressing the Tribunal said that all documents tendered by the petitioners were inadmissible because ” they were not makers of those documents.”

While Olanipekun said all the documents presented as evidence by the petitioners though certified by INEC but not signed.

He, therefore, urged the Panel to dismiss the petition on the basis that “unsigned documents are worthless, baseless, valueless, inadmissible and void ab initio. I urge your lordships to dismiss the petition.”

Counsel to APC, Ikpeazu, submitted that the petitioners could not establish the particular polling units where there was over-voting or non-compliance.

He maintained that the entire evidence on over-voting has no platform, asking the tribunal to “dismiss the petition.”

Counsel to Adebutu Uche urged the court to discountenance the submissions of the respondents.

Uche urged the tribunal to hold that “the petitioners have a credible evidence which was unchallenged and are entitled to the grant of the reliefs claimed by them in the petition.”

He described as scandalous, the attempt by INEC to discredit the same documents it issued and certified, saying the commission has not come out to deny the documents or present counter documents.

On the margin of lead principle, Uche held that elections were not disrupted due to resistance to the use of BVAS.

He said INEC reports confirmed that thugs disrupted the election and INEC did not bring any other report or counter the incident reports from its ad hoc staff, adding that “the respondents’ witnesses also confirmed there were gunshots and people ran away.”

The counsel pleaded with the court to grant the prayers of the petitioners, saying INEC has no evidence by failing to call witnesses and resting his case on that of the petitioners.

Meanwhile, the Hamidu Kunaza-led tribunal appreciated the parties for their cooperation since the commencement of the proceedings.

The tribunal adjourned, saying, “judgment is reserved until a date to be communicated to parties”.

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