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The governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State, Oladipupo Adebutu, has rejected the judgement of the Election Petitions Tribunal, which affirmed Dapo Abiodun as the duly elected governor of the state.
Last Saturday, the three-member tribunal struck out the petition filed by Adebutu, saying it is “incompetent, defective, disjunctive and lack merits.”
Adebutu described the verdict as unexpected, disheartening and a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement by the Director of Media, Ladi Adebutu Campaign Organisation, Afolabi Orekoya, the PDP candidate said the judgement which was “based solely on funny technicalities failed to consider the substantial merits and evidence tendered during the trial.”
“We firmly believe in the principles of democracy, transparency and the rule of law. It is with these principles in mind that we entered into the legal process to seek justice for the people of Ogun State whose mandate was stolen,” he stated.
“Regrettably, the Tribunal chose to focus on mere technicalities and the use of English rather than engage in a thorough examination of the glaring evidence presented.
“We submitted substantial evidence that raised serious questions about the conduct of the election, even marked ballot papers and we are confident that a closer examination of this evidence would have revealed the true nature of the irregularities and discrepancies that occurred during the election.
“In the course of the trial, our legal team presented enough evidence that establishing non-compliance, voters’ harassment and intimidation leading to the disenfranchisement of over 49,000 voters which is higher than the margin of lead of 13,915 as “purportedly” declared by INEC; the ballot boxes snatching, over voting among many other electoral malpractices perpetuated by Mr Dapo Abiodun and his party, APC.
“We obtained duly Certified True Copies of documents from the electoral umpire, INEC, and paid for with official receipts to back our claims which proved all the content of our petition and justified our concerns over the election.”