The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting at Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State capital, yesterday affirmed the victory and re-election of Hon. Olajide Adedeji Stanley of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Ibadan South West/North West federal constituency of Oyo State, while dismissing the petition filed by Akinade Saheed Fijabi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the 1 hour, 10 minutes judgment read by the Chairman of the panel, Justice Sobere Biambo, which was unanimously adopted by the two other Justices: Z.A. Zadat and Shaffau Lada Yusuff, the tribunal dismissed the petition with N1m cost to each of the respondents.
Justice Zadat in her adoption of the judgment, however, refused to make an order for cost, saying,” all parties should bear their costs”.
Fijabi, a former House of Representatives member for the constituency, had filed the petition through Kazeem Gbadanosi (SAN) claiming against the INEC that election did not hold in three of the 713 polling units in the constituency and that BVAS machines did not work there: as well as, that “the election was vitiated by mandatory non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022; there was allegation of over-voting, and that conduct of the election was unlawful, undue, null and void”.
The party called five witnesses including the candidate, Fijabi, and prayed the tribunal to deduct the results recorded for the three units from the totality of the ones declared, or rather nullify and cancel the entire election.
The INEC, Adedeji and the PDP had contended that the petition be struck out or dismissed in its entirety with substantial cost as: “it is incompetent, gold-digging and frivolous. They claimed that there were no irregularities as alleged, and that Adedeji won the election back to the House of Representatives.
Yusuff O. Ogunrinde, Joseph Adeoye and R.O. Solahudeen had represented Adedeji (a.k.a. Odidiomo) and the PDP at the tribunal.
The tribunal in the judgment found that Fijabi in his testimony said that all the information he heard concerning the election results were supplied to him by his party agents after he had voted in his Unit 58 of Ward 2, and left. He said he was not there when the result was declared.
The tribunal said it discovered that there were mutilations on some electoral materials tendered and there were no explanations; that there were irregular and suspicious alterations, illegible records in some documents tendered, that did not tally with the pleadings. They were accordingly discountenanced and rejected for not having probative value.
“None of the five witnesses frankly proved the allegations contained in their reliefs, and evidence given amounted to hearsay. PW5 did not know if the election was credible but that he left after voting. Those present or on the field are the ones who can talk or testify on the documents.
“On the allegation of over-voting, Voters Register, BVAS report must be presented, but the petitioners failed to prove this. The allegations made by the petitioners are imaginative which are not admissible in law. The tribunal holds that the election was conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“The tribunal therefore holds that the petitioners did not substantially prove their case on merit. It is hereby dismissed with a cost of N1m to each of the respondents”, it so ordered.