Tribunal upholds Tinubu’s victory, dismisses PDP petition
The National Assembly and State House Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ikeja on Monday affirmed the election of Sen. Oluremi Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for Lagos Central senatorial constituency.
Delivering judgment, the three-member tribunal led by Justice Kunaza Hamidu, held that the petition filed by Chief Adesunbo Onitiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election of Tinubu failed as it did not establish any prima facie case against her.
“The petition lacked merit and is hereby dismissed. The declaration of Sen. Oluremi Tinubu by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) as the winner of Feb. 23 National Assembly election is hereby affirmed,” the tribunal declared.
Onitiri had dragged Tinubu and INEC before the Tribunal, challenging the result of the Lagos Central Senatorial District election over alleged irregularities.
Respondents in the case are the APC and INEC.
Onitiri had alleged that INEC wrongly declared Tinubu winner of the polls with 131,725 votes, while he was said to have scored 89,107 votes.
He claimed that INEC ought to have declared him the winner of the election instead of Tinubu, claiming that he scored the highest lawful votes cast at the election.
In a petition filed before the tribunal, Onitiri’s counsel, Onome Akpeneye, alleged that the results declared by INEC were fraught with vote-buying, violence, over-voting, inducement of voters with monetary and material gains, campaigning and lobbying voters, on the day of the election.
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Other irregularities he stated in his petition, included non-accreditation and improper accreditation of voters by INEC officials, intimidation and arrest of his supporters and poll agents, as well as the instigation of electoral violence by agents of the first respondent.
Onitiri also alleged that apart from the listed irregularities, there were irreconcilable entries in the result declared and the number of votes recorded in favour of Tinubu by INEC in forms EC8A and EC8B respectively.
“The final result was signed only by the agent of APC and the Senatorial INEC Returning officer in an unknown location,” he added.
But in their defence, Tinubu, APC and INEC through their counsel, Ezekiel Ashade and Busayo Onabanjo, denied all allegations contained in the petition describing them as unfounded fabrications.
They insisted that Tinubu scored the highest lawful votes cast at the election and urged the tribunal to dismiss Onitiri’s petition with substantial costs.
During the trial, Ashade filed two applications on behalf of Tinubu and APC while Onabanjo filed one application for INEC in which they objected to certain paragraphs in the petition and urged the tribunal to strike them out as they were vague and lacked substance.
The tribunal granted the prayer of the respondents and struck out the ‘offensive’ paragraph.
The tribunal held that the petitioner failed to substantiate and give particulars of all allegations raised against the election of Tinubu.
The tribunal declared that the national assembly elections from which Tinubu emerged winner was held in accordance with the electoral act and other relevant laws.