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Appeal Court retains Makinde, Abiodun as Oyo, Ogun governors

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Supporters of Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State jubilating after an  Appeal Court judgement  which upheld his election at the Court of Appeal,  Ibadan ..yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan yesterday set aside the tribunal judgment that upheld Governor Seyi Makinde’s election last month, but declared that the election could not be nullified. The judgment has left many confused as supporters of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) trooped to the streets claiming victory.

The APC candidate, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, had challenged Makinde’s victory but the tribunal dismissed Adelabu’s case and upheld Makinde’s victory. Rather than dismiss the petitioner’s case or sack the incumbent governor, the Appeal Court judges said if not for the time limit, they would have ordered a retrial.

A source disclosed that Adelabu’s lawyers were already preparing to head for the Supreme Court for the interpretation of the judgement. Reacting to the judgment, a legal practitioner, Musibau Adetunbi, said: “It is not a victory for either of the parties. Certainly, it is going to lead to appeal and cross-appeal.”

Another legal practitioner, Mr. Fatai Akinsanmi, said the court ought to have evaluated the facts before delivering the judgment.“The Court of Appeal is of the opinion that there was miscarriage of justice at the tribunal while the appellant’s right to fair hearing was also breached and thus dismissed the tribunal judgement, but because of statute of limitations cannot order retrial or another election. The implication of this is that Makinde tenure continues until Adelabu approaches Supreme Court for further interpretation.

“I am of the opinion that the Court of Appeal ought to have evaluated the facts that led to the miscarriage of justice via a provision of the law and make a definite pronouncement,” Akinsanmi stated.But the APC in Oyo State lauded the court over its ruling, saying it reaffirmed its strong belief in the judiciary being the pillar of hope for the sustenance of democracy.

The Assistant Publicity Secretary of the party, Ayobami Adejumo, in a statement said: “The Court of Appeal found that the judgment of the lower tribunal which dismissed the petition of the APC’s candidate, Adelabu, challenging the election of Makinde as the governor of Oyo State in the election held on 9th March 2019 was perverse and, therefore, set it aside”.

But he expressed regret that “the good people of the state would still have to wait for the final adjudication on the case before the APC’s candidate could reclaim his mandate.“The verdict given on Monday was unambiguous, apt and sound enough to convince any informed mind about the genuineness of our claim that Makinde’s declaration as the winner of the March 9 poll was done by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in error.”

Also yesterday, the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, dismissed the case brought before it by the candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Abdulkabir Akinlade, against the election of the APC candidate, Dapo Abiodun, as governor of Ogun State.

Reading the lead judgment, Justice Muhammed Ambi-Usi Danjuma declared that the ten grounds filed by the APM challenging the victory of Abiodun had no merit and that the two respondents were overruled because of lack of merit.“The respective objections raised by the two respondents are overruled and the motions have no remit, answers to them are sustained and the two motions are dismissed,” the court ruled.

In his reaction, the state chairman of the APC, Chief Yemi Sanusi, said that the judgment had said it all.“The judgment says it all. In this part of the world, nobody accepts defeat. We will not be surprised if they move from here to the Supreme Court and we are ready. Anytime they want to see us, they will meet us there,” he said.

The lead counsel to the APC and the governor, Wale Habeeb Ajayi, appreciated the court for delivering the judgment in good time. He said the judgment had shown that Abiodun was declared the governor of Ogun State by lawful votes.In his reaction, Makinde declared that the mandate of the people of Oyo State given to him through the March 9, 2019, remained intact.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Makinde declared that the mandate given to him by the people of Oyo State could not be taken through the backdoor.The statement read: “There is no ambiguity as to the state of things in our Pacesetter State as far as the election of March 9, 2019, is concerned. Our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election.

“The victory was reaffirmed by a ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Ibadan, the state capital.
“On Monday, the Court of Appeal, also sitting in Ibadan, delivered its judgement on the appeal by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adebayo Adelabu.

“In its ruling, the Appeal Court refused to grant any of the three key reliefs sought by the APC candidate.“The court refused to nullify the election; it refused to order a fresh election and it also refused to order the retrial of the petition.“With the above being the reality of the outcome of the Appeal Court ruling, the election of Engineer Seyi Makinde as the Governor of Oyo State has just been reaffirmed.

“There is nothing in the Appeal Court’s ruling that affects the returns made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and there is nothing that tampers with the mandate freely given to Engineer Seyi Makinde by the people of Oyo State.”

The statement added: “Governor Makinde hereby urges the good people of Oyo State to remain calm and refuse to be provoked by agents of disruption who are seeking to upturn the truth, which remains constant against all odds.
“We also wish to enjoin the people of Oyo State to ignore the doctored reports in some media outlets, which are merely quoting the judgement of the Court of Appeal out of context.“With a clear margin of Makinde’s 515,621 votes to Adelabu’s 357,982 votes, the preference of the people of Oyo State is as clear as day and night.”

While reassuring the people of Oyo State that he could not be deterred from taking the state to greater heights through the implementation of his four-point service agenda, Governor Makinde insisted that positive governance and unprecedented development will continue to be the portion of the people of Oyo state through his tenure.

 


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Dapo AbiodunSeyi Makinde
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