The Ondo state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on the October 10, 2020 election today resumed its sitting in Akure, as the candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede gave evidence on oath.
Jegede told the tribunal that the candidate of All Progressives Congress(APC), Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was not validly nominated by his party.
His prayer was that the Governor of Yobe State, who is the national Caretaker chairman of APC, Mai Balla Buni, could not also function and conduct the party’s governorship primary that produced Mr Akeredolu.
Giving evidence at the election petition tribunal presided over by Justice Umar Abubakar, the PDP governorship candidate said the nomination of Akeredolu ran contrary to APC constitution and the 1999 constitution as amended, adding that his nomination should be setside.
Mr Jegede through the assistance of his lead counsel, Mr Onyekachi Ikpeazu, prayed the tribunal to declare him the winner of the election.
After arguments by both the attorneys of the petitioner and respondents, the evidence tendered by the PDP governorship candidate were admitted by the tribunal as exhibits.
Chief Charles Uyi Edosomwan, SAN, and Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, leading counsels to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the All Progressives Congress, APC respectively, argued that the crux of claims by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is purely a pre-election affair.
The legal minds contended that the decision of APC to sponsor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN as its flagbearer was taken in July last year, ahead of the October 10, 2020 governorship election.
However counsels to defendants, Mr Lateef Fagbenmi and Chief Akin Olujimi, told the tribunal during cross examination of the petitioner, that Jegede who is not a member of APC should not interfere in the internal affairs of the party.
Charles Edosanmiwan, lawyer to INEC, informed the tribunal that majority of the prayers of the PDP candidate were about the APC primary and emergence of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the candidate of the party when he is not a member of the ruling party.
The candidate of the PDP, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, while being cross-examined, had faulted both the selection process of the candidate of APC , and the collation of the election results by the INEC.
The counsel established that all issues that accompanied nomination by the ruling party happened long before the election in October, 2020.
Apparently referring to Jegede as a busybody in the process of the primaries that produced Akeredolu, Chief Edosomwan wondered why the petitioners would employ an alleged crisis in the APC to launch legal attack.
He asked pointedly: “Mr. Jegede, are you a member of the All Progressives Congress?” The petitioner said no, adding, “I am a member of the PDP”.
Edosomwan also argued that only authorised staff of the electoral body could be in a position to say if any candidate in an election has been wrongly credited with figures.
He told the petitioner: “You are not an electoral officer, and therefore, not in a position to know if figures were wrongly credited or not.”
The tribunal adjourned till Wednesday, 13th January, 2021, tomorrow