Ondo election: INEC opens defence at tribunal

• Says Akeredolu's votes not wrongly credited

The Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday resumed sitting with an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tope Aina, disagreeing with the petitioner that votes scored by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu were wrongly credited.

Aina who stated this while the commission opened its defence in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, at the Ondo State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure.

The INEC official while being cross-examined said that there was no objection from anybody, including the petitioner when Akeredolu was published by INEC as the All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer.

Aina who said he has been working with INEC for over 30 years said all the particulars of Akeredolu were published by the commission for public consumption on July 31, 2020, with no objections from any quarters.

Aina maintained that he did not agree with the petitioner that votes scored by Akeredolu were wrongly credited and said the October 10, 2020 governorship election was free, fair and conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.

When cross-examined by counsel to Jegede, Onyechi Ikpeazu, Aina stated that he could not recall whether Alhaji Ahmed Markafi was a serving governor when he presided over the affairs of the PDP.

Jegede is asking the tribunal to nullify the October 10 governorship election won by Akeredolu and declare him (Jegede) the winner.

Jegede closed his case after testifying as a witness and opted not to call any of the other 400 witnesses listed to testify.

The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Abubakar, adjourned sitting to January 20 for further hearing.

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