As Court of Appeal upholds Fayemi’s election in Ekiti
The governorship tussle in Adamawa State came to a close on yesterday as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Ahmadu Fintiri winner.
Fintiri ousted the incumbent governor, Mr. Jubrilla Bindow of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to INEC, Fintiri win in all the 44 units in 14 local government areas and 29 registration areas where run-off poll was held.
Announcing the results in Yola, INEC’s returning officer, Prof. Andrew Haruna, said Fintiri scored 376,552 votes to beat Bindow, who received 336,386 votes.
“Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP, having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes is hereby declared the winner and returned as elected governor of Adamawa State,” he said.
Other results, according to him showed that the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Senator Abdulazeez Nyako received 113,237 votes, while the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Emmanuel Bello, got 29,792 votes.
The returning officer further disclosed that the total number of registered voters was 1,973,083; accredited votes were 905,346; total valid votes were 871,307; rejected votes were 27,790 while the total number of votes cast was 899,097.
It would be recalled that INEC had on March 9 declared the governorship election inconclusive saying the margin of Fintiri’s lead over the incumbent governor was less than the total number of cancelled votes in 14 local government areas and 29 registration centre where elections were cancelled due to violence and sundry electoral issues.
It development necessitated a run-off originally slated for March 23 but was put off after the candidate of the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), Rev Eric Theman, went to the court and alleged the omission of the MRDD logo from the ballot paper and asked the court to annul the election and stop the rerun already announced for units where voting was cancelled.
The court immediately granted the prayer to stop the rerun and continued proceedings to rule on arguments raised at subsequent sittings, including the court’s jurisdiction to judge the matter.
However, on March 26, the court vacated the injunction thereby clearing the way for the supplementary poll.
Meanwhile, the PDP has congratulated Fintiri saying though the victory was delayed, the outcome of the supplementary polls showed he was the clear choice of the people.
“We congratulate our Ahmadu Fintiri on his victory. It is an outcome that we have always known to be certain,” said the party’s national publicity secretary, Mr. kola Ologbondiyan
Elsewhere in Ekiti State, the Court of Appeal in Abuja affirmed the election of APC’s Dr. Kayode Fayemi governor.
A three-man panel of justices of the court led by Justice Stephen Adah, in a judgment dismissed the appeal filed by the candidate of the PDP, Prof. Kolapo Olusola and his party for lack of merit.
It would be recalled that the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal, which sat in Abuja, had in a unanimous judgment delivered on January 28, 2019, dismissed the suit filed by Olusola and the PDP.
The tribunal held that the various allegations raised against the elections by the petitioners were not proved as required by law, adding that worthless documents were dumped on the tribunal.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Bolaji Belgore, said contrary to the claims of the petitioners, Fayemi was duly and lawfully returned as winner of majority votes by INEC.
In dismissing the PDP and Olusola’s petitions, the tribunal specifically stated that said that Fayemi scored 197,459 as against 178,121 votes scored by Olusola in the July 14, 2018 governorship election.
The tribunal further said that the plaintiffs failed to establish the allegations of corruption, malpractices, ballot box snatching, non-accreditation, over voting and deliberate voiding of votes, made against the defendants.
Justice Belgore noted that the petitioners only called 71 witnesses as against 926 listed to be invited to testify for them, adding that the 71 witnesses were scanty and insufficient to establish the fact of the various issues raised in the petition.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal, the PDP and Olusola approached the appellate court to reverse the decision of the tribunal and declare them winners of the July 14, 2017 governorship election.
However, delivering its judgment in the suit marked: CA/A/139/2019, barely three days after counsel to the parties in the suit adopted their brief of argument, the panel said after a careful look at the submissions of parties, “all seven issues raised by the appellants were resolved in favour of the respondents.
“Appeal is lacking in merit and it is hereby dismissed and the January 28 judgment of the tribunal is hereby upheld. No order as to cost,” said Adah.