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Tribunal upholds election of Oyebanji as Ekiti Governor

The Ekiti State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti has dismissed the case instituted by the Social Democratic Party, SDP and its candidate chief Segun Oni challenging the June 18th election of Biodun Oyebanji as the Governor of the state.

The Court, in its over two hours forty five minutes judgement, resolved all the issues formulated by the petitioners for determination against them and subsequently affirmed the election of incumbent Governor, Biodun Oyebanji.

Delivering the ruling, a member of the Tribunal, Justice Zaad Zadawa held that the SDP and its candidate failed to present satisfactory evidences that the incumbent Governor and his Deputy were not qualified to context the June 18 poll.

The Court further affirmed that it was puerile for the petitioner to base their case on the signing of a nomination letter since it was the party at the state level that decide candidate to represent it in an election.

The Tribunal ruled further that the petitioners were unable to prove that the EKiti State Deputy Governor presented forged certificate to INEC as other evidences before it showed that all the documents presented by the deputy Governor were genuine.

The Tribunal held that it lacked jurisdiction to inquire about the role played by Yobe state Governor, Mai Mala Buni in the selection and nomination of the Governorship candidate of APC in EKiti, stressing that the Governor enjoyed immunity.

On allegations of non compliance to the electoral act, Justice Zaadawa held that the evidences of petitioner witnesses during proceeding were hear-say which could not be relied upon by the competent court .

The Tribunal noted that upon the whole, all the allegations raised by the petitioners are generic in nature, vague, nebulous, imprecise and lack specificity and subsequently struck out the case for lack of merit.

In a reaction, one of the lead Counsel to social Democratic party, SDP and its candidate, Mr Owoseeni Ajayi, faulted the judgement and said the tribunal abandoned the merit of the case and promised to appeal the court verdict.

One of the counsel to APC and incumbent Governor, Mr wale Fapohunda, lauded the the judgement describing it as victory for the people of EKiti State.

Reporting by Tope Bamidele; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade and Julian Osamoto