The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday nullified the election of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, of the All Progressives Congress in the February 23 election.
The three-member tribunal chaired by Justice Danladi Adeck, in a unanimous decision, declared the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi, of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the election in the Ekiti South Senatorial District.
In the judgment, the tribunal nullified elections in some polling units which left Olujimi polling 54,894 votes to defeat Adeyeye, who scored 52,243 votes.
Justice Adeck predicated the tribunal’s verdict on nullification in some units and recount of the ballots by the contending forces as granted.
The judge said that the petitioner proved those cases of criminal allegations of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Acts and other corrupt practices raised in her petition beyond a reasonable doubt.
He said, “In Ikere, Gbonyin and Emure local governments, the petitioner was able to prove cases of over-voting and votes in those units were expunged from the ballots.
“It is not tenable to say that marked ballots were not properly deposited in the boxes because when this did not happen, then it will lead to over voting and will affect counting at every level of collation.
“To avoid this pitfall, those elections must be expunged in order not to vitiate the electoral process. Therefore, after those votes were deducted, PDP was left with 54,894 while the respondent polled 52,243.
“The petitioner having polled the highest number of lawful votes should be declared the winner of the election. We hereby declare the petitioner the winner and he is hereby returned elected. We hereby direct the INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return from the respondent and issue same to the petitioner”, the chairman said.
Olujimi, dissatisfied with the verdict of the Independent National Electoral Commission which returned Adeyeye as the winner of the election, had approached the tribunal seeking to be declared as the winner of the election.
She had prayed the tribunal to, in the alternative, “nullify Adeyeye’s victory and order supplementary election accordingly in the district”.
The PDP candidate had said that she scored the highest number of valid votes in the election which she said was fraught with irregularities as she prayed the tribunal to cancel votes in areas “found to be incredibly mared with irregularities like over voting, multiple thump printing, ballot snatching, ballot stuffing and improper ballot counting to know the actual winner of the poll.”
Olujimi had also accused INEC of dereliction of duties, saying most of the documents used for the conduct of the election were not duly signed by agents.
But Adeyeye countered Olujimi’s submission, saying INEC did what was right and constitutional by declaring him winner having found to have got the highest number of lawful votes.