Ekiti 2018: Ekiti governorship election tribunal begins sitting

The governorship election petitions tribunal set up to hear grievances arising from the conduct of the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti state will be inaugural sitting on Monday, September 17.

The emergence of All Progressives Congress candidate, Kayode Fayemi, as the governor-elect at the Ekiti governorship election has been challenged by  Prof. Kolapo Olusola.

Olusola, who is widely referred to as Eleka, was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the July 14, 2018 governorship election.

According to a report, Eleka has approached the election petition tribunal in Ado Ekiti to file his petition on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.

The PDP candidate is challenging the electoral victory of Fayemi, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on Sunday, July 15, 2018.

Fayemi defeated the PDP candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, aka Eleka, in the July 14 election as he won 197,459 votes to his opponent’s 178,121 votes.

On October 16, 2018, Fayemi is expected to take over from the incumbent, Governor Ayodele Fayose, who defeated him in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

The Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti state has alleged that the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is more than the number of accredited voters in the state.

INEC declared  Kayode Fayemi winner of the Ekiti governorship election which held on Saturday, July 14, 2018.

The PDP also vowed to deploy all legal means to ensure that their ‘stolen mandate’ is returned.

This was made known to newsmen on Monday, July 16, 2018, in Ado-Ekiti by the chairman of the PDP Ekiti state chapter, Barr. Gboyega Oguntuase.

According to Oguntuase, the Federal Government used INEC and security agencies to overturn the will of the people.

Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in the July 14 election in Ekiti, Prof. Kolapo Olusola-Eleka filed a 700-page petition before the Election Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti on August 3, 2018.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the candidate along with his running mate, Mr. Deji Ogunsakin and a member of his legal team, Mr. Ola Olanipekun, (SAN) and scores of others, arrived the state high court premises at about 6:00 pm on August 3, 2018, armed with heaps of documents to justify their petition

Eleka, whose main prayer before the Tribunal was that he be declared the winner of the election, said the APC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi earlier declared the winner of the poll “stole” his mandate.

He had come to the Tribunal to beat the 21-Day deadline allowed under the Electoral Act, which expires  Saturday, August 4, 2018

However, the leader of his legal team, Yusuf Alli, (SAN) and other lawyers were absent during the submission of the petition to the court registry.

Eleka, while addressing journalists claimed his petition contained empirical evidence, to show that figures were falsified in favour of Fayemi. He also alleged that ballot boxes were either stuffed or snatched, while there was intimidation of voters and party agents from polling booths.

” The election was openly manipulated by political desperadoes, using instruments of the Federal Government”, he claimed.

” I am challenging the election results not out of desperation to be governor, but for reasons of future and posterity, and largely on behalf of the people of Ekiti, who were taken aback by the outcome of the election

” Without a doubt, the will of the people was subverted by those who have chosen to take Nigeria back to the dark days of ballot stuffing, ballot boxes snatching and outright falsification of election results and I believe they deserve to get justice

” As law abiding citizens of our country, the only path of honour to take in a situation like this is the process that we have initiated today, to seek redress against the use of security forces and other instruments of the federal government to suppress the will of our people

” The mood of Ekiti people when the beneficiary of the electoral robbery was declared a winner and up till today is a pointer to the resolve of the people not to accept the subversion of their will and we have answered their calls to use the judiciary to get back their mandate

” In doing this, I have presented overwhelming discrepancies in the results declared by INEC to the tribunal to adjudicate upon and I am confident that the popular mandate of the people of Ekiti will not go unrestored

” I, therefore, want Ekiti people to keep hope alive, remain strong and resolute in their belief in God

” While we go through this judicial walk to exposing the electoral thievery of July 14, 2018, we urge the good people of Ekiti State, especially my teeming supporters to remain calm, peaceful and prayerful, bearing in mind that those who stole their mandate will not enjoy the benefits for long.

In other hands, the Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi filed a 2,225-page to the petition by the defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and outgoing Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Kolapo Olusola- Eleka.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that eight Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN’s) were to lead the legal team of the Governor-elect.

Fayemi, in the defence, with over 3,000 documents as exhibits, averred that he actually won the gubernatorial election of July 14, contrary to claims by Eleka and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit.

His team of lawyers,  armed with the exhibits and 1,009 witnesses, were led to the tribunal by three Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mr Hakeem AfoIabi, Mr. Yomi Aliyu and Dr. Kayode Olatoke.

Addressing newsmen after filing the petition, Olatoke, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said Eleka’s petition was a waste of time as it lacked substance and was sure that the case would be dismissed by the tribunal.

He explained further that Fayemi won “fair and square” in 12 out of the 16 local government areas of the state, while Eleka won in only four.

In his response to Eleka’s petition bordering on alleged over voting in some polling units, Olatoke dismissed this claim as frivolous and baseless.

He said Eleka’s first ground in his petition was based on Fayose’s alleged indictment via a Government White Paper which, he said had since been nullified and set aside by a competent court.

“The second ground of Eleka’s petition is alleged over voting, which is another false claim. In any case, the petition in itself is self-defeating.

“The third ground is on deliberate voiding of votes as alleged by Eleka but in actual fact, the majority of the voided ballots were votes meant for Fayemi, while the fourth ground is on vote buying which is baseless as it was, Eleka’s sponsor, Fayose that was guilty of this.

“Fayemi won convincingly based on his popularity,”  Olatoke said.

NAN reports that other senior lawyers in the team representing Fayemi and the APC include Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Dr. Kayode Olatoke, (SAN ), Hakeem Afolabi (SAN), John Baiyeshea (SAN), Chief  Akin Olujimi (SAN), Jelili Owonikoko (SAN), Yomi Aliyu (SAN) and Segun Ajibola (SAN).

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