N/Assembly Poll; Appeal Court nullifies tribunal ruling
By; Odeyemi Samuel, Akure.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure has nullified the judgment delivered by the Election Petitions Tribunal in Ondo State, which earlier nullified the March 28, 2015 House of Representatives election of Hon. Kolade Akinjo, representing Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency of the state on the grounds of ineligibility.
The upper court delivered its judgment Tuesday following an appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate in the election to challenge the tribunal’s ruling which cancelled the election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh poll in the federal constituency.
In its verdict, the court, presided over by justice Abiyiri Shehu faulted the tribunal judgment for ruling that Akinjo was not a member of the PDP at the time of the election because his membership card was not signed by his ward Chairman and Secretary.
The appellate court also held that the All Progressives Congress candidate in the election, Lucky Aiyedatiwa would have had a good case if he had presented another card to show that the federal lawmaker’s card was fake and not credible enough to attest to his membership of the PDP before the March 28 National Assembly election.
It therefore upheld the election of Akinjo as duly elected representative of the people of Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State.
In his reaction, counsel to the respondent, Mr Titiloye Charles said his party had accepted the appellate court’s verdict in good faith but it would soon make its position known.
On the other hand, the appellant’s counsel, Mr Remi Olatubora lauded the appeal court for the judgment, adding that it had again restored confidence in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
Also commenting on the ruling, Hon. Akinjo commended the court for restoring his mandate. He said the development would enable him focus on serving his people who gave him their supports.
He also expressed gratitude to the state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko whom he described as his benefactor and political leader that has stood by him throughout the trying period.