Election Tribunal: Kashamu, Adebutu, Others Know Fate Today

Senator Buruji Kashamu, representing Ogun East Senatorial District will Friday know his fate as the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, western Nigeria, delivers judgment in a petition brought before it.

Prince Dapo Abiodun, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ogun East Senatorial candidate in the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly Election, had approached the tribunal in a case EPT/SEN/ABK/001/2015 claiming that he was validly elected in the election but was denied victory.

At the hearing on Monday, 3 August, 2015, all the counsel in the matter adopted their final addresses and made final submission to further convince the court on their cases.

Counsel to the petitioner, Yusuf Ali (SAN) argued that result sheets made available to agents at the polling units were different from the Certified True Copies, CTC, brought before the court by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
In his alternative prayer, Ali also prayed the court to nullify Kashamu’s election on ground that Dapo Abiodun won the majority valid votes, adding that the Senator was not qualified to contest the election in the first place because of his alleged drug related cases against him.

According to him,”our position is that we won the election, but were denied victory and the tribunal should restore us into the victory path. That is the summary of our case.

“We have alternative prayers, one is that if we do the proper calculation of the valid votes, Dapo Abiodun would have the majority of valid votes, and we said based on that, nullify the election of Buruji and declare Dapo Abiodun the winner.

“In case the tribunal does not agree, by looking at the documents we brought after the conclusion of votes in each polling station, Dapo Abiodun’s agents were given copies of the result which we tendered but we need INEC to bring the Certified True Copies and we now discovered that the ones they brought were different from the material particulars of the ones they gave to us on the day of the election.

“We now said if the tribunal agrees that such differences point to irregularities, we have asked the tribunal to nullify the election and order fresh election. Those are our alternative prayers.”

He added that “our allegation again was that Buruji Kashamu was not qualified to run for the election having regards to a lot of issues on his extradition and based on those issues, he shouldn’t have contested election.”

In his counter arguement, Counsel to Kashamu, Ajibola Oluyede (SAN) said the petition was brought based on documents produced by the petitioner himself, saying such documents are not admissible before the court.

“You were in court and you saw that the petitioner’s case was based on documents he produced himself, and he rejected the documents that were produced by the umpire and it is those ones he produced himself that he wants the court to rely upon.

“So, the arguments focused on those documents. All we are waiting for is for the court to give its judgement. We are very confident that the court would uphold the decision of the electorate, the electorate has elected its Senator,” Ajibola said.

After listening to all the counsel’s submissions, the Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ebiowei Tobi, said he was reserving judgement to a later date which “will be communicated to all the counsel”.

Also, the tribunal will be giving judgment in two other National Assembly seats being contested for by the All Progressives Congress, APC, candidates.

They are the Ijebu East/Ijebu North/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency seat currently held by Segun Adekoya and Remo Federal Constituency seat occupied by Oladipupo Adebutu, both of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The APC candidates in the two federal constituencies had gone to the tribunal to challenge the victory of the PDP candidates, asking the tribunal to nullify the victories of the two federal lawmakers.

Also the tribunal will be delivering judgment on nine State House of Assembly seats which are currently occupied by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members.

Meanwhile, feelers from the State Police Command Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, is that security will be beefed up within and around the court premises to avert clashes between supporters and loyalists of the ruling APC and the PDP as was the case recently.

Our correspondent reliably gathered that there will be thorough screening of those to be allowed into the court premises and also only a few party supporters will be allowed inside the court room.

The atmosphere within Abeokuta metropolis is already chargied as supporters of both political parties have moved their fight to the social media where series of ‘online judgments’ have been spreading all over.

They have also engaged one another in a war of words and people believed to be loyalists of both parties from other local government areas of the state have have started arriving Abeokuta in droves for the great verdict.

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