The National Assembly Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, has dismissed three case filed by the candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election of three candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.
The petition were filed by Kehinde Agboola, Nicolas Olusola Omotosho and Duro Faseyi against Peter Owolabi, Ibrahim Olanrewaju and Olubunmi Adetumbi respectively.
Hon. Justice D.D. Adeck, a member of the three -man panel of the tribunal, who read the unanimous judgment on Saturday in a petition filed by Faseyi against Adetumbi, said the case lack merit.
Justice Adeck also said that the petitioner, Faseyi failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law.
He, however, upheld the preliminary objection filed by the respondent and dismissed the petition, saying the petitioner failed to call witnesses from the venue of the APC primaries.
Other members of the panel are Justice CN Mbanu Nwenyi and Justice Khadi MS Abubakar delivered judgment on Agboola and Olarenwaju’s petitions respectively .
The PDP and its candidates, through their counsel, Ahmed Raji SAN had petitioned the APC ,its candidates and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) claiming that the APC had no candidates for Ekiti North Senatorial District, Ekiti North Federal Constituency I and II, where Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, Peter Owolabi and Ibrahim Olanrewaju were declared winners respectively by INEC .
Chief Rafiu Balogun and Kabiru Akingbolu were the counsels to the Second Respondents (Candidates) and First Respondent (APC) in the matter .
While the APC was the first respondent in the petition, the candidates and INEC were second and third respondents respectively. The grounds of petition and reliefs were the same in the three suits .
The petitioners also deposed that there was no valid candidates for APC since no primaries was held by the first respondent (APC) and the nomination of the second respondents (candidates) was null and void.
The plaintiffs also asked the court to declare that the votes accrued to the respondents are wasted votes and declare their candidates as winners of the elections .
But the Lead Counsel to the respondents Chief Balogun in his defense argued the claim by the petitioners that the APC did not conduct primaries amount to hearsay since the witness called by the petitioner testified that he only saw some protesters alleging that there was no election.
He also argued that the purported INEC’s report on APC Primaries had no value stressing that the document told lies against itself, since it was signed a day before the official declaration of the results by the electoral umpire .
“We also argued that the tribunal lacks the loco standi to entertain the petition since it is a preelection matter and only the aspirant who participated in the primaries can challenge the process in line with Section 87 sub 1 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended”
And that the petitions were statue barred since they were not filed within 14 days after the primaries as stipulated by the law.
According the to him, the APC Primaries were held on October 5,2019 while the results were declared by INEC on October 6 but the petitions were filed on November 6, .
Counsel to the respondent also argued that the court have no loco standi to hear the case since it was a preelection matter which only state, Federal High Court could handle.