Oyo South Senatorial District: Ajimobi May Reclaim Mandate as many irregularities were discovered during proceedings of the tribunal.

by Adabanija Kamorudeen

Oyo South Senatorial District: Ajimobi May Reclaim Mandate As Irregularities Were Made Oyo South Senatorial District Election Petition Tribunal showed that it is not yet over, as former Governor Abiola Ajimobi may reclaim mandate.

The former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who was the All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s candidate for Oyo South Senatorial District, lost the senatorial bid to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr. Kola Balogun.

Mr Balogun, at the just concluded National Assembly election defeated his closest rival, Sen Abiola Ajimobi, of the All Progressives Congress, with a vote difference of 13,141
The PDP candidate scored a total of 105,720 votes while the candidate of the APC secured 92,579 votes as declared by the Returning Officer, Prof Kolawole Akinsola of the University of Ibadan.

Meanwhile, Ajimobi while congratulating the PDP candidate, Balogun, noted that there were a number of grievous infractions and established electoral malpractices.

However, not satisfied with the outcome of the election, the ex-Oyo state gaffer had approached the Election Petition Tribunal to sought solid legal redress in order to reclaim his mandate.

Interestingly, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN, the leading counsel to Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, during cross examinations, has not only successfully demonstrated; but established before the tribunal panel that the said election was marred with irregularities.

On Monday, 29th July, 2019, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) closed their cases. While closing its case (PDP), the PDP lawyer, Lekan Ojo SAN observed that there were typographical errors on some paragraphs in his reply to the petition, which include Paragraph II, requesting that the word ‘petitioner’ supposed to read ‘Respondent’, a prayer which was granted by by the Tribunal Panel.

Shortly after the prayer had been granted by the lordships, it was time for cross examinations which eventually ended in mild drama.

Lekan Ojo SAN led the PDP agent, one Mr. Adebiyi through his submission that the election was properly conducted, free and fair.

The party’s counsel, also asked the witness if he agreed that both the voters register and card reader were used for accreditation during the election which he answered in the affirmative, ‘Yes, my lord’
Few minutes after, it was the turn of the Petitioner Counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN to cross examined the PDP witness.

Olujimi SAN : Witness, you said you were the PDP agent in the election
Witness (PDP Agent): Yes, my lord
Olujimi SAN : You also said earlier that voters register and card reader were used.

Witness: Yes, my lord
Olujimi SAN: Now, look at Exhibit P58 (2), (a document which was given to the witness).
The total number of accredited voters is what?
Witness (PDP Agent) : 136. The witness was later referred to Page 74, showing the card reader reports, but replied, “I didn’t see it”
Olujimi SAN: You didn’t see or what? Look at Page 74 properly, the total number of accreditation on the card reader reports is 132.
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Can you see that 136 is higher than 132 ?
Witness (PDP Agent): Yes, my lord
Another PDP witness, an agent named Adebayo Taofeek (NW4/Ogunpa Labaowo, South West Local Government) was led by the party’s lawyer through his submissions in his earlier reply sworn on oath.
Having prayed for the court to adopt it and granted
The witness also testified that the election was properly conducted, and that it was free and fair.
Thereafter, the Petitioner counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN further cross examined him .
Olujimi SAN: Witness, check form EC8A, what is the total number of accredited voters?
Witness: 199
Olujimi SAN: Look at column six, what is the total number of rejected ballot papers?
Witness: 7
Olujimi SAN: Sum up valid votes and rejected ballot papers on Column seven. I.e Valid votes (199) + Rejected Votes (7)
Witness: 206 (Total number of accredited voters)
Olujimi SAN: Witness, look at Exhibit P146 (B) for Voters register. The total number of voters ticked is 227.
You said earlier that the card reader and voters register were used. Now, you can see that the two are not thesame
Though, the PDP lawyer, had earlier promised to present five witnesses to the court, but closed his case after two witnesses had earlier been cross examined .
Having closed their cases, the legal team has discovered and demonstrated plethora of irregularities, over-voting, cancellation, creation of illegal additional polling Units among others. If valid votes are counted as discovered in the Tribunal, Ajimobi may coast to victory
1. Ajimobi being declared outright Winner
2. Rerun election outrightly or in specific units/wards.
3. Dr. Balogun retaining the mandate.
Time will tell, the tribunal panel has demonstrated great professionalism and clear understanding of the rule of laws and impartiality in handling the matter.
The Panel has further directed the parties involved in the matter to write their final addresses as the adoption of addresses is billed for 19th August, 2019, after which a date would be agreed on for the ruling or judgment.

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