Ondo: Tribunal dismisses petition by LP Rep candidate against APC, Ojogo
The Election Petitions Tribunal in Ondo State on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by the House Representatives candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency, Tunji Balogun, challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Donald Ojogo, who won the March 18 poll.
The petition was dismissed by the Justice Rose Soji-led three-man panel following an earlier application by LP and its candidate, Balogun, to discontinue the case.
LP had earlier petitioned the tribunal, claiming that its candidate was prevented from participating in the election after the logo of the party was excluded from the ballot by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Following the development, Balogun and his party prayed that the tribunal should order INEC to conduct a fresh election in the federal constituency with him as a candidate.
Speaking on the decision of the tribunal to dismiss the case, the counsel to APC, Yinka Orokoto, said “they (LP) went to the tribunal claiming they were wrongfully excluded from the election and that they did not have their logo on the ballot. Their initial prayer was that INEC should conduct a fresh election with him (Balogun) as a candidate.
“It was on the basis of the fact that on October 27, LP submitted its list of candidates, which included his own, to INEC. But INEC told them that the time in which to submit the list of candidates had lapsed because INEC had their own timetable.”
Orokoto added that “the Labour Party candidate brought an application to withdraw the case, but on our own part, we insisted that the case should continue.
“After listening to both parties, the tribunal, in its own wisdom, dismissed the case. We are happy they submitted the application.
“We are happy about the ruling of the tribunal because it is the right thing to do. We don’t think they have a case, but rather than go through the whole stress.
“They think it is wise and the best thing to do, and we think it is the best thing in this circumstance, so we are good with it.”
Ojogo, the immediate past Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the state, was declared the winner of the federal constituency seat by INEC after polling 26,306 votes to defeat the PDP, which had 22,390 votes.