From MUSLIUDEEN ADEBAYO, Ibadan
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Monday upheld the election of Mr. Seyi Makinde as the authentic Governor of Oyo State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had in March declared Makinde as the Governor of the state in the election held on Saturday, 9th March 2019.
However, not satisfied with the result of the election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu approached the election petition tribunal urging the tribunal to nullify the election result.
But, in a unanimous judgment delivered on Monday by Justice Sirajo Muhammed on behalf of the three-member panel, the tribunal averred that the petitioners, Chief Bayo Adelabu and the All Progressives Congress(APC) failed to prove the allegation of corrupt practices, over voting, improper accreditation, inaccurate ballot counting and non-compliance with the 2010 electoral act as amended.
The petitioners filed the petition challenging the declaration of Makinde by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election.
Adelabu and his political party, APC prayed the tribunal to declare Adelabu the winner of the election having scored the highest number of lawful votes or nullify the election and order a rerun.
After many weeks of legal fireworks, the governorship election petition tribunal recently admitted the final written addresses filed by Makinde, Adelabu, PDP and INEC.
One of the counsel to Adelabu, Akin Oladeji noted that he and his other learned colleagues, who are Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), shall study the full judgment to know the next line of action after discussing with the gubernatorial candidate, Chief Adebayo Adelabu.
“Until we study the full judgment, then, we will know the next line of action, this judgment has just been delivered, and we need to look at everything which the court has decided and see whether to take it further.
But, the Chairman of PDP in the state, Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha, while reacting, congratulated Makinde for what he called resounding victory at the election petition tribunal.
Mustapha in a statement released by the Publicity Secretary of PDP in Oyo State, Engineer Akeem Olatunji, said that the judiciary should be commended for upholding the wishes of the people as demonstrated by the pattern of voting in the last gubernatorial election by declaring Engr. Seyi Makinde as the winner.
According to the party, the Oyo State Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal, by its landmark ruling, had helped to restore hope to Nigerians that judgment is not for sale.
Mustapha saluted the judges for putting honesty, justice and fear of God above any other considerations to carry out their professional callings.