Sunday, April 14, 2024

Tribunal upholds victory of Adefarati as Ondo Rep

The Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Akure, on Thursday upheld the victory of a member of the House of Representatives, Gboyega Adefarati in the House of Representatives election held on February 25, 2023.

Adefarati, who represents Akoko South-East/Akoko South-West Federal Constituency, was announced as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, having defeated the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Kolawole Olugbenga in the poll.

He scored 25,872 votes to beat the PDP candidate who had 18,403 votes in the election.

Having dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, the PDP candidate approached the tribunal seeking the nullification of Adefarati’s victory on the grounds that the All Progressives Congress had no candidate for the election.

Olugbenga, through his counsel, Tolu Babaleye, had petitioned the court, joining Adefarati, INEC and the APC, stating that the Federal High Court in Akure had, on February 17, 2023, nullified the primary of Adefarati and directed INEC not to recognise the APC candidate in the February election.

In her judgment, Justice Rose Soji said the petition lacked merit since the Court of Appeal in Akure had overturned the verdict of the lower court.

Soji said that the prayer of the petitioner was an implication to cause judicial anarchy, describing it as a perfect example of a waste of the court process, stating that the tribunal was under a duty by the constitution to enforce the judgment of the appellate court.

She added that the Nigerian constitution stipulates that the Court of Appeal’s judgments shall be enforced across the federation.

The tribunal struck out the petition and awarded a sum of N150,000 against the petitioner in favour of the respondents.

In his reaction to the judgment, the APC Chairman in the state, Ade Adetimehin, described the verdict as a victory for democracy.

Adetimehin added that “the judgment showed that the common man still had hope in the country.”

He said, “Someone had worked hard to win the election but a losing side wanted to use technicality to hijack the election victory. This is unfair.”

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