Ekiti election: Oni rejects tribunal judgement

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The decision of the Election Petition Tribunal to uphold the return of Biodun Oyebanji of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the governorship election in Ekiti State has been rejected by the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the election, Segun Oni.

Oni described the judgement was a miscarriage of justice.

He said the tribunal failed to consider the facts before it as well as precedents set by the Supreme Court regarding similar cases in which vital pronouncements were made.

In its judgement read by the Chairman, Wilfred Kpochi, and a member, Sa’ad Zadawa, the panel resolved all issues in contention against Oni and his party, SDP.

The panel held that the petition filed by Oni against the return of Oyebanji and Afuye “failed woefully head or tail.”

Oyebanji had polled 187,057 votes to defeat his two closest rivals, Mr Oni and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Oni of the SDP had 82,211 votes while the PDP was third with 67,457 votes.

But Oni, on 7 July, filed a petition at the tribunal challenging the declaration of Oyebanji by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the election.

In his petition, Oni claimed that the election was characterised by irregularities.

The SDP candidate also wanted Governor Oyebanji’s election nullified on the ground that his nomination as the APC candidate was supervised by the party’s then caretaker committee headed by Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni.

He had also alleged massive vote buying against the ruling party, claiming that he scored the highest number of valid votes in the election and so should be declared to true winner.

But the tribunal concluded otherwise and dismissed his petition.

Meanwhile, Governor Oyebanji has hailed the judgement, calling on all stakeholders to unite in bringing development to Ekiti State.

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