Ekiti Election tribunal: Tension as Ekiti tribunal delivers verdict tomorrow

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mr. Segun Oni and Dr. Kayode Fayemi
Who won the April 25, last year Ekiti State rerun governorship election? The knotty question will be resolved tomorrow, the day the Governorship Rerun Election Petitions Tribunal has fixed for its verdict in the dispute.

A massive security cordon has been thrown around Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, and some major towns, following the notice of judgment.

  • 6000 policemen deployed to Ekiti state.
The judgment notice, signed by Tribunal Secretary Polycarp Nwachukwu, has been sent to all parties to the petition filed by the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

The notice reads: "Take notice that the above-mentioned petition has been listed for judgment on Wednesday, 5th day of May 2010 at Court No 1 of Ado-Ekiti High Court at the hour of 9.00am in the forenoon."

The notice is dated May 3, 2010.

Fayemi is challenging the declaration of Governor Segun Oni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The judgment day marks exactly one year Oni was announced winner of the highly controversial poll.

The first petitioner is challenging the results emanating from six wards of Ifaki 1, Ifaki 2, Usi, Orin/Ora in Ido/Osi Local Government Area and Ipoti A and Ipoti B in Ijero Local Government Area.

The respondents are: Oni (1st), PDP (2nd), INEC (3rd), Resident Electoral Commissioner (4th), Ido/Osi Returning Officer (5th), Ijero Returning Officer (6th), Nigeria Police Force (7th) and Inspector General of Police (8th).

The petitioners (Fayemi and AC) are challenging the result from the six wards because, according to them, Oni was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast and his return was invalid by reasons of corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006.

In all, 47 witnesses gave evidence in favour of the petitioners. Oni had 67 witnesses testifying in his favour. PDP called 31 witnesses. INEC and REC called 32 witnesses.

One witness appeared for the 5th respondent. The 6th, 7th and 8th respondents did not call any witness.

More detachments of riot policemen arrived in Ekiti yesterday.

Police spokesman Mohammed Jimoh said over 6000 policemen are to maintain peace on the judgment day.

Jimoh disclosed that every person and vehicle coming into or going out of the state would be thoroughly searched to prevent illegal importation of arms.

The massive security build-up is not unconnected with the violence that erupted on April 13, when parties to the suit adopted their written addresses.

The mobile policemen, many of whom were drafted from neighbouring states, paraded the streets of Ado-Ekiti in a show of strength to warn potential troublemakers.

Members of the state’s chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), who are on strike, have refuted the claim of the state government that they are being used by the opposition.

Dismissing the government’s allegation in a statement yesterday, JUSUN lambasted the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Labour Affairs, Mr. Dare Ofere, for claiming that their strike had a political undertone.

According to the statement signed by the state JUSUN Chairman, Mr. Michael Ibiyemi, and the Secretary, Mr. Tayo Owolabi, Ekiti court workers described Ofere’s allegation as "spurious", saying the repeated announcement on the state radio and television is "diversionary".

The union said it embarked on the strike, in accordance with the directive of its national body, adding that four of its six state chapters in the South-West are on strike over a similar issue.

The body also challenged the state government to publicise the report of the seven-man panel, if it was sure that it actually implemented its mandate.

The union claimed that Ofere came to the court premises on April 29 and told the chairman and secretary of the union that Oni would be the last governor in the South-West to grant the union’s demands.

JUSUN also refuted the claim by Ofere that the union got wind of the outcome of the governorship petition, saying Ofere, by his conduct and pronouncement during his meeting with the leaders of the union on April 8, actually showed that he had seen the judgment.

According to the union, Ofere had pleaded with its members not to go on strike "so that Governor Segun Oni could collate his appeal document after the tribunal judgment". "Ofere should tell the public how he knew that the judgment would not favour the governor, if he had not got wind of it already," the union said.

Source: www.thenationonlineng.net

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