The Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Akure, today 10th August, 2023 upheld the election victory of Hon. Gboyega Adefarati, a member of the House of Representatives representing Akoko South East/Akoko South West federal constituency.
A three-man tribunal dismissed a petition filed by Mr Kolawole Olugbenga, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP), in the federal constituency on the Feb. 25 election.
Olugbenga, through his counsel, Mr Tolu Babaleye, had petitioned Adefarati alongside with INEC and the All Progressives Congress (APC), stating that the Federal High Court in Akure had on Feb. 17 nullified the primary election of Adefarati and directed INEC not to recognize the APC candidate in the said election.
The petitioner added that in the eyes of the law, APC had no candidate at the time that the Feb. 25 election was held.
Speaking on the petition, Justice Rose Soji said that the petition lacked merit since the Court of Appeal in Akure had overturned the verdict of the lower court.
Soji added that the prayer of the petitioner was an implication to cause judicial anarchy, describing it as a perfect example of a waste of court process.
She explained that the tribunal was under a duty by constitution to enforce the judgment of the appellate court, saying that the Nigerian constitution stipulates that the Court of Appeal judgments shall be enforced across the federation.
The tribunal, therefore, struck out the petition and awarded a sum of N150,000 against the petitioner in favour of the respondents.
Earlier, counsel to Adefarati, Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), had asked the court to dismiss the petition because it was an affront to constitutional right of the respondent as provided by the constitution.
Oke added that the Federal High Court judgement relied upon by the petitioner was a dead judgment that could not be relied upon since the appellate court had nullified it.
He stated that the matter before the tribunal was a pre-election matter that the tribunal could not entertain.
Speaking on the judgment, the Chairman of the APC in the state, Mr Ade Adetimehin, described the verdict as a victory for democracy.
Adetimehin added that the judgment showed that the common man still had hope in the country, saying that someone had worked hard to win election but a losing side wanted to use technicality to hijack the election victory.