By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Oyo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ibadan on Thursday, dismissed the Allied People’s Movement (APM) petition against the election victory of Governor Seyi Makinde.
The tribunal at its sitting, also awarded N2 million cost in favour of the 2nd and 3rd respondents in the APM petition.
At the Thursday sitting, Counsel to the Petitioner, Barrister Henry Bello informed the court that APM lost interest in the matter on four grounds having discovered that the party governorship candidate, Mr Adeniran Oluseye, who should be the beneficiary of the petition, if it goes the party way, had earlier congratulated the second and third respondents on the outcome of the election.
The Counsel prayed the court to strike out the petition to avoid wasting the time of the tribunal and all parties involved in the suit
Chief Isiaka Olagunju, (SAN) Counsel to 2nd respondent (PDP), said he has received the application for dismissal of the petition earlier in the week while preparing for the hearing of the matter as earlier fixed by the tribunal, saying, “PDP is not opposing the application, backing the claim with an affidavit before the court as sworn in by the PDP state Secretary, Isiaka Adeleke.
Barrister Olagunju urged the court to grant a request of N2 million on behalf of the second respondent as cost against the Petitioner.
Counsel to the 3rd respondent (Governor Makinde), Otunba Kunle Kalejaye (SAN) in his presentation confirmed receiving the application for withdrawal by the Petitioner, noting that the matter ought not to have come up in the first place going by the score of the Petitioner in the overall result announced by the 1st respondent (INEC).
Otunba Kalejaye (SAN) wondered how said the petitioner who scored overall 303 would be challenging the 3rd respondents who scored 563, 756 and how the petitioner who was 15th on the overall score sheet would challenge the victory of the 3rd respondent.
While not opposing the withdrawal of the petition, Otunba Kalejaye (SAN)said the matter deserve a heavy and punitive cost against the Petitioner going by the time of the tribunal that was wasted and the cost incur by the legal teams of the respondents.
Stressing that the appropriate word for what the petitioner was asking is not a striking out of the petition but a total and complete dismissal of the petition, Otunba Kalejaye urged the court to dismiss the matter and award while N10million cost on the petitioner to serve as a deterrent.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ejiro Emudainohwo in the ruling faulted the decision of the petitioner to withdrawal the case about 46 days after his governorship candidate had congratulated the second and third respondents.
Justice Emudainohwo stressed that it was even surprising to hear that the Petitioner is not aware of the development while relying on affidavit deposed before the tribunal by both the governorship candidate and state party chairman of the APM.
The Tribunal Chairman said substantial cost must be awarded to serve as deterrent to other politicians who relies on frivolous petitions to waste the time and resources of the court in pursuits of unrealistic cases ruling that the sum of N1 million each should be paid to the second and third respondent, the PDP and Makinde respectively.
In their separate remarks after the ruling, the other members of the Tribunal, Justice Baraka Wali and Justice I.S Galadinma aligned with the ruling
Speaking after the tribunal sitting, Otunba Kalejaye said “By the ruling of the court this morning, in fact I told the tribunal that it could be called a judgement. By this ruling, the legal challenge to the victory of Governor Seyi Makinde has come to an end.
“What the court said was that the petition itself was dead on arrival. It was avery frivolous petition. Frivolous in the sense that, even the candidate who contested against the governor was uploaded as one of the witnesses to the PDP, even the Chairman of the APM, the party that is contesting the victory of the governor happened to have been uploaded by one of the parties defending the victory.”