Declare Adebutu Governor, Heavens Will Not Fall – Counsel to Ogun Tribunal.

By Admin

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Ladi Adebutu, on Monday, asked the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, to declare him governor of the state and winner of the March 18 election, saying the heavens will not fall.

Counsel to Adebutu, Chris Uche (SAN) said this while adopting the petitioners’ final written address before the Justice Hamidu Kunaza-led tribunal.

The tribunal on Monday resumed hearing for the adoption of final written addresses in a petition filed by Adebutu against Abiodun.

PDP and Adebutu in the petition marked, EPT/OG/GOV/03/2023 accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and corrupt practices during the election.

The senior lawyer urged the election court to grant all the reliefs sought including disqualification of the second respondent, Abiodun, as a candidate in the March 18 election.

Uche asked the tribunal to hold that all votes allocated to Abiodun by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were wasted and declare the petitioner (Adebutu) as the rightful winner of the election.

“To find that upon a proper calculation of the lawful votes cast in the election, excluding the votes earned by multiple thumbprinting and ticking of ballot papers under the watch of INEC, that the petitioner scored the majority of the lawful votes,” he submitted.

According to him, about 40,891 votes were affected and wrongfully credited to the second respondent.

On the margin of lead in the election, Uche said the petitioners relied on exhibits 456, 457, 576, 609 and 617.

The Counsel said the petitioners have “successfully discharged the burden of proof by calling 94 witnesses who gave vital evidence in the case.”

Uche said, “I urge my Lords to do justice by granting the reliefs sought in this matter, the heavens will not fall.”

While adopting his final written address, INEC’s Counsel, Dr Remi Olatubora (SAN), urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition “for being absolutely unmeritorious and for being a total waste of the judiciary’s precious time”.

He argued that the petitioners simply dumped the documents on the Tribunal, saying “all the bags and envelopes of evidence hauled into this Tribunal and tendered from the bar are absolutely inadmissible”.

On his part, Abiodun’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) in his written address urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition, arguing that all the evidence tendered by the petitioners were not duly signed and stamped by appropriate authorities.

He described all the evidence tendered by the petitioners as “worthless, valueless, baseless, and should have been voided ab initio”.

“The position of the law is that an unsigned document is worthless. The principle of margin of lead cannot be a ground for a petition. I therefore urged your lordships to dismiss this petition”, Olanipekun argued.

Counsel to APC, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu submitted that the petitioners raised allegations of non-compliance in six local governments but failed to mention any polling unit.

He also argued that the video and picture of alleged political thugs on bikes who disrupted elections were not related to the polling unit.

“We humbly urged my lords to dismiss the petition”, Ikpeazu submitted.

Meanwhile, the Hamidu Kunaza-led tribunal appreciated the parties’ cooperation since the commencement of the proceedings.

The tribunal adjourned, saying, “Judgement is reserved until a date to be communicated to parties.”

Addressing newsmen after the proceeding, Olatubora said: “As counsel to INEC, we have defended INEC, and we have made it clear to the court that the election conducted by INEC was free, fair, and the court should uphold the election.

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“The decision is that of the court; as counsels, we have put in all that we are required under the law to put in; we have put in necessary evidence by way of evidence extracted during the cross-examination.

“We have also put in legal arguments, legal submission, but the ultimate decision is with the court, and I prayed that God Almighty would guide them in giving a just decision in this case.”

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