The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ilorin Zonal Command on Monday, October 24, 2022 arraigned four persons for alleged bribery of voters to ensure the return of the incumbent governor of Osun State, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola for a second term in office during the governorship election held in the State on July 16, 2022.
They are Adeyemo Bahiru Abiodun, Abidogun Ismail, Jimoh Kazeem and Yekini Nurudeen Abiodun.
The suspects were arraigned on Monday, October 24, 2022 before Justice Mathias Agboola of the State High Court, Oshogbo, Osun State.
The suspects were arrested on July 16, 2022 by operatives of the EFCC at different polling Units following credible intelligence that the defendants were trading vote for cash to induce voters to vote Governor Oyetola for a second term in office.
Specifically, Adeyemi, Abidogun and Jimoh were arrested at Polling Unit 002, Ward 2, Ababu, Isale Osun, while Abiodun was picked up at Unit 2, Isale Agbara, Oshogbo.
The audacious move by the EFCC is to check the practice of vote buying and other financial inducements that undermine the integrity of our elections. It is important to state that those who offer bribe for votes are as guilty as those who receive such gratifications during elections.
While the charge of Adeyemo, Abidogun and Jimoh were consolidated, Yekini was prosecuted on a separate charge before the same court.
The charge against the trio of Adeyemo, Abidogun and Jimoh reads:
“Conspiracy to bribe contrary to section 121 (5) and punishable under section 121 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2022
“Particulars of the Offence
“Adeyemo Bashiru Abiodun, Abidogun Ismail and Jimoh Kazeem on the 16th of July 2022 in Oshogbo within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to corruptly make monetary gifts to voters at unit 2, ward 2, Isale Odun, Oshogbo, Osun State in order to induce them to procure the return of Mr Adegboyega Oyetola to an elective office of the Governor of Osun State at the Osun State Gubernatorial Election”
For Nurudeen, the Charge reads:
“Bribery contrary to Section 121 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 121 (1) (d) of Electoral Act, 2022
Particulars of the Charge
“You Nurudeen Abiodun on 16th July, 2022 at Oshogbo within the Judicial Division of this Honourable Court corruptly made monetary gift to voters at Pilling Unit 002, Ward 8, Are Agbo Isale Agbara in order to induce them to procure the return of Adegboyega Oyetola to an elective office of Governor of Osun State Gubernatorial Election of 16th July, 2022”
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Upon their pleas, Sesan Ola and Andrew Akoja who prosecuted the cases for the Commission asked the court to fix a date for hearing and remand the defendants in the Correctional Center pending trial.
In response, the defence represented by N. T Adekilekun and M. O Sambo through respective oral applications prayed the Court to admit the defendants to bail. They argued that the defendants had earlier been granted court bail by a Kwara State High Court, Ilorin and had not breached the terms. The defence counsel assured that the defendants would always be available in court to stand their trial.
Opposing the bail application, the prosecution counsel contended that electoral offences are grievous crimes and the court to consider the weight of the evidence before it and the prevalence of the offence.
In his ruling, Justice Agboola granted the defendants bail in the sum of N2million with one surety each in like sum. The surety, who must not be below Grade Level 13 in the State Civil Services, must deposit their Identity card with a recent passport photograph to the Registrar of the court.
Thereafter, the two cases were adjourned till November 21 and 28, 2022 for commencement of trial.