The Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure has struck out the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, against Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Jegede had challenged the victory of the ruling APC and its candidate in the October 10, 2020 governorship election, which saw the re-election of Akeredolu for a second term in office.
Chairman of the three-member panel, Justice Umar Abubakar, while delivering the judgment in Akure, struck out the petition for want of jurisdiction.
According to him, “issues raised therein in the petition are settled issue of internal affairs and management of a political party, which this tribunal has no jurisdiction.”
The panel affirmed that Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, were duly nominated and sponsored by the APC, elected as governor and deputy governor of the state in line with Section 177 of the Nigerian Constitution and Section 31 of the Electoral Act, saying that other grounds to nullify their election were not cogent enough.
The tribunal chairman, Justice Abubakar, added that the electoral laws did not specify who to submit the names of party candidates, affirming that submission by the party chairman is just for administrative convenience.
He stressed that no extra cost would be awarded against any party in the petition as each of them would bear the costs, assuring them that the copies of the judgment would be made available to concerned parties.
MEANWHILE, as the tribunal was delivering the judgment, journalists across the state were denied access to cover the proceedings.
Many journalists, both in print and broadcast, were stranded after several attempts to log into the ZOOM ID made public for the judgment were to no avail, even the online media platforms frustrated by failed attempts to log in.
Akeredolu said the judgment affirmed his victory as the duly elected governor of the state.The governor, who described Jegede as his brother and gentleman, sought his co-operation to work together with his government to build a virile state, saying there was no need for litigation.
But Jegede, while reacting to the judgment, said that he alongside other learned colleagues, would review the verdict of tribunal. According to him, the review would determine the next step to be taken.
Either to redress the judgment at a higher appellate court or accept it in good fate.
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