Ondo Election Tribunal Concludes Hearing, To Declare Verdict

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The three-member tribunal hearing the petitions on the declaration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko as winner of the October 2012 election on Tuesday adjourned for judgment.

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The development followed the successful adoption of written addresses by counsel  for the petitioners and respondents in the presence of their clients.

The adoption of the written addresses ended the works of the parties, thus  leaving the judges up to May 10 to deliver their judgment.

The law permits  180 days within which the  tribunal mus  sit on   cases and pass   verdict.

The written addresses centred on whether or not the Voter Register used by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the governorship election in the state was valid.

The Peoples Democratic Party and the Action Congress of Nigeria, were of the opinion that the election which produced Mimiko of the Labour Party as the winner was fraught with irregularities.

The LP countered their submissions and argued that the election was free, fair and represented the wish of the majority of the people  of the state.

Counsel  for the parties argued for many hours on the need to either uphold the outcome of the election or set it aside and order a fresh one.

Chief Wole Olanipekun led  five other  Senior Advocates of Nigeria in defence of Mimiko’s election.

He urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitions of the opposition  candidates on the grounds that their allegations  could not be substantiated.

He insisted that the election was adjudged free and fair by all and advised politicians and democrats to display spirit of sportsmanship in accepting the wish of the majority of the people.

Olanipekun said all the evidence relied on by the opposition parties in the state  were computer generated which is not admissible in law.

He said the injection of voter register relied on by the ACN for its case failed because there was no evidence that there was manipulation either by   INEC or any of the parties.

He said, “The crux of the matter is injected voters. If anybody has been injected, it is the ACN’s candidate.”

Olanipekun added that the issue of voter  register could not be brought before the court because it was a pre-election matter which the court did not have jurisdiction to entertain.

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