Tribunal upholds Oyebanji’s election as Ekiti governor
Assembly passes N113. 6 billion 2023 budget
The Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, yesterday, upheld the election of Governor Biodun Oyebanji and his deputy, Mrs. Monisade Afuye.
In the judgment, Chairman of the three-man tribunal panel, Justice Wilfred Kpochi, while striking out the petition, said that the SDP candidate failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt that the victory of Oyebanji was against the nation’s Constitution and the Electoral Act.
The tribunal held that the petitioner failed to call enough witnesses to prove allegations of malpractices across the polling units, wards and local councils on the day of election, saying that the SDP only relied on hearsay evidences, which the court held was not tenable in law.
On the legality or otherwise of governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, signing the nomination forms of Oyebanji and his running mate as the national caretaker chairman of the APC, the tribunal held that the actions of Buni in forwarding the names of the candidates to INEC did not invalidate the nomination of Oyebanji.
Justice Kpochi, who relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Eyitayo Jegede’s suit versus Rotimi Akeredolu in Ondo state, noted that the nominations were valid in view of the outcome of the APC primaries, which was decided mainly by party members.
The judge held that the issue raised by the petitioners was a constitutional and a pre-election matter outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal, saying the Yobe governor enjoyed immunity and he could not be sued.
Faulting the petitioner’s failure to prove certificate forgery against the Deputy Governor, Afuye, by not calling the management of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to testify against the alleged forged document, Justice Kpochi said it was wrong for the SDP candidate to introduce the allegation in his reply to the respondents and not in his initial petition filed within the stipulated 21 days period.
Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly, yesterday, passed the 2023 Appropriation Bill of N113. 6 billion.
The appropriation bill, tagged “Budget of Strong Beginning,” was unanimously passed at plenary presided over by the Speaker, Olubunmi Adelugba, at the Assembly’s complex in Ado-Ekiti.
This followed the adoption of the report of the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation that scrutinised the budget estimates.
Chairman of the committee, Lateef Akande, while presenting the report, said that the figure was made up of N79.51 billion recurrent expenditure and N34.06 billion capital expenditure.
“I can assure the House that in spite of the envisaged challenge of limited resources as a result of zero remittance to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the 2023 estimate covers all sectors of the economy.
“It is in the light of the above that the Finance and Appropriation Committee is recommending recurrent expenditure of N79,510,633,058.89 and capital expenditure of N34,062,058,464.93,” he said.
Akande said that since 2023 could only be run through revenues, there should be joint efforts by members at various committees to monitor the Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
This, he said, would ensure the realisation of the 2023 budget.
Speaker of the House, who presided at the plenary, lauded the committee for a job well done, while thanking the lawmakers for the speedy consideration of the bill.
The House thereafter adjourned till January for plenary.