Tribunal Fixes Monday For Judgement Over Ejigbo H/A Election

JUSTICE Sulemon Ambursa-led Election Petitions Tribunal in Osun State has fixed Monday, October 10 for judgment in the petition filed by the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) House of Assembly candidate in Ejigbo State Constituency, Grace Oyegbile against the election of the Action Congress (AC) lawmaker representing the constituency at the state House of Assembly, Honourable Najeem Salami.

Counsel to the parties in the matter adopted their final written addresses on Wednesday, after which the panel adjourned for judgment.

The tribunal arrived the state to hear the only case before it based on the order of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, which returned the petition for re-trial.

The petition had earlier been dismissed by the Justice Hamma Barka-led tribunal that sat in the state on the ground that the petitioner lacked locus standi to contest the said election.

Subsequently, the petitioner, through her counsel Mr. Aderemi Abimbola approached the appellate court, seeking the order of the court to set aside the ruling of the lower tribunal which dismissed the petition.

The petitioner succeeded at the appellate court as the court ruled that the petition should not have been decided based on technicality, and ordered its re-trial.

However, the hearing of the matter, which commenced on October 20, took a week, indicative of panel’s readiness to deal with the matter as speedily as possible.

Counsels, who appeared before the court on Wednesday, are: Abimbola for the petitioner, I.J Egeakun for the INEC, Biodun Akinloye for the lawmaker, Gbenga Akano for the AC and Kehinde Adesiyan for the PDP.

In her final address, the petitioner claimed that the name and logo of her party was not on the ballot papers, a situation that denied her the votes that might have been cast for her by her supporters, praying the court to order a fresh election in the constituency.

But the lawmaker and his party submitted that the petitioner was not a valid candidate at the election, claiming that the petitioner was neither screened nor cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as done to other eligible candidates.

They also claimed that there were discrepancies in the age given in the INEC nomination form of the petitioner and her age in the marriage register among others.

Other respondents that are expected to opposed to the petitioners introduced another dimension, when they prayed the court to allow the petition, suggestive of probable alliance between the other respondents and the petitioner.

Both the petitioner and respondents are expected to know their fates on Monday.