The Election Petition Tribunal in Ondo State will deliver its judgment on Friday.
All is now set for the judgement by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure over the results of the October 20, 2012 Election in Ondo State.
Following the declaration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the winner of the election, five of the 12 candidates and their parties filed petitions before the tribunal.
The petitioners are Olawale Ojo of the Accord Party, AP; Rotimi Akeredolu of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Soji Ehinlanwo of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC; Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and the candidate of the People Democratic Change, PDC, Victor Adetunsi.
While the Accord Party candidate alleged that INEC deliberately omitted his name and the logo of his party from the ballot papers, the PDC candidate said the logo of his party resembled that of the Labour Party and that the similarities in the logo caused confusion that made many voters that ordinarily would have voted for him to mistakenly vote for LP.
The two other petitions, ACN and the PDP, dealt with the real conduct of the election, particularly the activities of the INEC officials during the conduct of the election making the commission a major respondent in all the petitions.
The ACN, in its 404-page petition made up of 190 paragraphs, called for the nullification of the election due to gross irregularities; urging the tribunal to order a fresh election within a stipulated time.
The PDP in its petition sought an order declaring its candidate, Mr. Oke, as validly elected and returned as the governor having polled majority of lawful votes cast at the said election and also scoring at least 25 per cent in at least 2/3 of the local government in Ondo State.
In the alternative, Mr. Oke prayed the tribunal to nullify the election and direct the INEC to conduct a fresh election within a period determined and directed by the panel.
A major issue raised by both the ACN and the PDP was on the voter register in which they alleged that INEC injected many names that were not in the voter register used for the conduct of the 2011 National Assembly Election in the state even when no new registration was done after the poll.
Ahead of the Petition Tribunal’s judgment on Friday, security agencies in Ondo State have expressed their readiness to ensure that people conduct themselves peacefully.
Though, the spokesperson of the state police command, Wole Ogodo, did not disclose the number of officers that would be deployed, he said the command and other security agencies had made adequate arrangement for the event.
Mr. Ogodo, in a statement issued and made available to newsmen, advised members of the public to go about their normal duties before, during and after the judgment.
He said men of the command would deal ruthlessly with any person or group of persons that try to foment trouble at the venue of the tribunal.
Similarly, the State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Waheed Popoola, said his men have been deployed to strategic locations in the state.
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