Ondo tribunal fixes April 23 for adoption of written addresses

The victory of Governor Mimiko at the last Ondo State gubernatorial election is being challenged.

The Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure has fixed April 23 for the adoption of written addresses by the parties who brought petitions before it.

The development followed the closure of the defence filed by Olusola Oke, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the October 20, 2012 governorship election in the state.

The state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, had on Monday opened his defence to the tribunal, calling four witnesses to defend his case.

When the tribunal resumed sitting on Tuesday, the governor called nine more witnesses.

The witnesses all agreed in their evidences before the tribunal that the election was free and as voters, cast their votes without any form of violence or intimidation.

Adefarati Babatunde from Ikun-Akoko and Francis Ojo from Irun-Akoko, during cross examination by counsel to the PDP candidate, Abode Olatoke, testified that that the election was fair.

After calling the 13th witness, Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Mr. Mimiko, the first respondent, told the court that his client would be closing his case.

Similarly, counsel to the Labour Party, LP,, Yusuf Ali, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Ifeanyi Ikpeazu, said they would not call any witness as they will be relying on the evidences of the witnesses brought by Mr. Mimiko.

In view of this, the tribunal headed by Justice Andovar Kaka’an told the parties to commence the compilation of their written addresses immediately.

The Electoral Law 2010 stipulates that the respondents have 10 days to file their written addresses, while the petitioners have seven days to reply to the addresses and another five days for the respondents to reply on point of law.

Mr. Olanipekun, however, pleaded for more time to enable the lawyers attend a conference in Cape Town, South Africa. All counsels agreed on April 23 for the adoption of the addresses.

The tribunal, thereafter, ruled that the parties should return to the court on April 23 to adopt their addresses preparatory to the delivery of judgment on the petitions.

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