Ondo governorship election: Akeredolu takes battle to Appeal Court

The ACN candidate’s petition was dismissed by the Election Tribunal for lack of evidence.

The governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has filed an appeal against the final Judgment of the three-member Election Petitions Tribunal led by justice, Andovar Kaka’n.

The tribunal, on May 3, upheld the victory of the incumbent governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko at the October 20, 2012 governorship election in the state.

The tribunal based its ruling on the grounds that the ACN candidate was unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the governorship election was rigged in favour of Mr. Mimiko. It stressed that Mr. Akeredolu’s petition on manipulation of voters’ register was a pre-election issue which should have been handled by a Federal High Court.

However, Mr. Akeredolu, who approached the Court of Appeal in Akure, prayed that the court should set aside the judgment of the tribunal. The appeal which was filed by 52 lawyers on behalf of the ACN governorship candidate on 39 grounds, also urged the court to order a fresh election.

Few days after the tribunal gave its verdict, one of the lawyers of Mr. Akeredolu, Charles Titiloye alleged that the Kaka’n-led panel applied non-existing provisions of the Electoral Act to dismiss the ACN’s petition. He urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, to probe the three-man panel.

Mr. Titiloye noted that the tribunal, on page 27, line 24 of its judgment ruled that the issue of manipulation of 2012 voters’ register of Ondo State by INEC is “a purely pre-election matter over which this tribunal has no jurisdiction vide section 131(5) of the Electoral Act.” Mr. Titiloye contended that section 131(5) is not in existence in the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.

“What we have in Electoral Act is section 131(a, b, c, d) which deal with electoral offences of threatening of violence during campaigns and voting,” he said.

The Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Olusola Oke, who has also vowed to appeal the judgement, is yet to officially file his appeal in court.

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