The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday affirmed the election Kayode Fayemi as the governor of Ekiti state.
The three-member panel of the appellate court, headed by Justice Steven Adah had in a judgment delivered yesterday evening dismissed the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate in the July 14, 2018 governorship election, Prof. Kolapo Olusola for lacking in merit.
Justice Adah, who read the unanimous judgment upheld the January 28, 2019 decision of the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the election victory of governor Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“The appeal is lacking in merit and it is hereby dismissed. The January 28, 2019 judgment of the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal is hereby upheld, no order as to cost “, Justice Adah held, having resolved the seven issues raised by the appellants in favour of the respondents.
The two other Justices of the Court of Appeal that sat on the panel with Justice Steven Adah are, Justices Tinuade Akomolafe and Emmanuel Atomaye-Agim.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Fayemi winner of the Ekiti state Governorship election held last year, having polled a total of 197,459 votes to defeat Olusola, who scored 178, 022 votes.
The Tribunal had, in a unanimous judgment by a three-man panel of Justices held in a judgment delivered on 28th January, 2019 that, there was no merit in the petition of the PDP, and its governorship candidate in the election and consequently dismissed the petition filed before it, challenging Fayemi’s victory.
The Tribunal maintained that the petitioners failed to by way of credible evidence, prove that the election was marred by irregularities as they alleged.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Suleiman Belgore, who read the judgment held that, both PDP and its candidate were unable to substantiate their claim that the governorship election in many polling units were characterized by lack of accreditation, over-voting, mutilation of results, inacurate ballot account, snatching of election materials, inducement of voters, irreconcilable figures and cancellation of results at polling units where they secured highest number of votes.
Belgore held that, “scanty evidence” the petitioners laid before the tribunal was not sufficient to invalidate the votes credited to the APC.
He also held that in the absence of credible evidence substantiated with pleadings, all the allegations raised by the petitioners were therefore deemed abandoned.
“Evidence of facts not pleaded goes to nothing”, the tribunal’s Chairman held, adding that, the results announced by INEC with respect to the Ekiti state governorship election, would continue to enjoy the presumption of regularity, until such presumption is displaced with credible evidence.
“On the whole, we hold that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations on the balance of probability. In fact, oral evidence of some of the witnesses called by the petitioners strengthened the case of the Respondents.
“It is clear that the irregularities claimed in the petition cannot be sustained. We found no reason to disturb the results”’ the tribunal held.
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