The Ekiti State Governorship Election Tribunal has affirmed Governor Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the state’s June 21 governorship election.
A three-man panel of Judges at the Tribunal dismissed the petition that was filed against Fayose by the All Progressives Congress (APC) at its proceeding in Abuja.
In its petition, APC challenged the outcome of the election, which it said “witnessed an unprecedented level of rigging, manipulation of voters register and widespread election malpractices.” It also queried the legal qualification of Governor Fayose to participate in the process.
The party argued that Fayose was in 2006, found guilty of embezzlement and violation of code of conduct for public officers, following which he was impeached from office.
Citing 182 (1) (j) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, the APC contended that Fayose ought not to have been allowed to participate in the election, adding that the Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate he purportedly obtained from the Federal Polytechnic in Ibadan, upon which he was cleared to contest, was forged.
APC therefore sought the nullification of the election over alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act. It requested for the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Fayose by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The panel however held that the witnesses paraded by the petitioner (APC) were unable to adduce concrete evidence to support the claims of corrupt practices at the polling units and that their testimonies did not support such claims that the election did not comply substantially with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal also struck out several paragraphs of the petition on the ground that they were made up of imprecise statements like “officers and men of the armed forces”, “agents of the PDP”, “harassment of the supporters of the petitioners”, “arresting of key supporters and chieftains of the petitioner” which had no names, descriptions or proper identifications of those persons who the petitioners are referring.
The panel held that those paragraphs are speculative and confusing, pointing out that the petitioners failed to provide the names of the polling units, where such harassment and intimidation of their supporters took place.