Tribunal sacks Adeyeye, declares Olujimi winner of senatorial polls
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado-Ekiti has nullified the election that produced Senator Dayo Adeyeye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the Ekiti South Senatorial District election.
Subsequently, the tribunal, in a unanimous verdict, declared former Minority Leader and the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Biodun Olujimi, winner of the senatorial polls.
Olujimi had approached the tribunal asking it to declare her actual winner of the election.
She submitted that she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast during the keenly contested poll.
In the alternative, Olujimi prayed the tribunal to outrightly nullify Adeyeye’s victory and order supplementary election accordingly in the district.
The petitioner also accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of dereliction of duties, saying most of the documents used for the conduct of the election were not duly signed by agents.
But the respondents countered the submission, saying INEC did what was right and constitutional by declaring the candidate of the APC the winner having found him to have got the highest number of lawful votes.
In their judgment, the three-man tribunal, led by Justice D. D. Adeck, nullified elections in some polling units to declare Olujimi the authentic winner of the polls.
Justice Adeck added that apart from the nullification in some units, the outcome of the tribunal’s verdict was predicated on the recount of the ballots by the contending forces as granted by the court.
The tribunal said for the petitioner to be so declared, she must prove those cases of criminal allegations of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and other corrupt practices raised in her petition beyond reasonable doubt, which it said she did.
The tribunal said in Ikere, Gbonyin and Emure local councils, the petitioner was able to prove cases of over-voting and votes in those units were expunged from the ballots.
“It is not tenable to say that marked ballots were not properly deposited in the boxes because when these did not happen, then it will lead to over-voting and will affect counting at every level of collation.
“To avoid this pitfall, those elections must be expunged in order not to vitiate the electoral process. Therefore, after those votes were deducted, PDP was left with 54,894 while the respondent polled 52,243.
“The petitioner having polled the highest number of lawful votes should be declared the winner of the election.
“We hereby declare the petitioner the winner and she is hereby returned elected.
“We hereby direct the INEC to withdraw the certificate of return from the respondent and issue same to the petitioner,” the tribunal said.