Tribunal To Communicate Judgement Date As PDP, APC Submit Final Addresses
Osun State Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore, challenging the victory of Mr. Rauf Aregbesola of All Progressives Congress, APC in the August 9, 2014 governorship election on Friday adjourned for judgment.
The adjournment came following the adoption of written address of the two parties by their counsel.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)’s governorship candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore is praying the tribunal to cancel the results of the election in some polling units in 17 local government councils of the state and declared him the lawful winner of the election.
Counsel to Omisore, Alex Izinyon (SAN), while addressing the panel said the respondents, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, APC and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had failed to defend the allegation of corrupt practices, substantial non-compliance and irregularities levelled against them, urging the tribunal to discountenance their defense.
He said that the petitioner’s evidences were weighty enough to declare Omisore the winner of the election.
But respondents urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit, baseless and wasting of time.
Represented by Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) and Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and Mr Ayptinde Ogunleye, submitted that the specific allegations upon which the grounds of the petition were predicated were criminal in nature adding that the petitioners had failed to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt.
They noted that the tribunal had no discretion to hear the petition based on their initial application that the petitioner filed his petition out of time.
They however urge the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit with substantial cost.
Meanwhile, security were beefed up around the court premises as armed policemen and operatives of State Security Service (SSS) were deployed in the area to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
Members of the PDP after the tribunal sitting had gone to town singing that the tribunal had declared their candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore winner. The news which spread like wild fire around the town as residents of state were making callings to government officials and journalists to find out the true story concerning the sitting at the tribunal.
In a swift reaction, the All Progressives Congress (APC) faulted the claim that PDP has won the election petition tribunal case.
A statement issued by its Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Mr Kunle Oyatomi said “it is not true that the PDP has won at the Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo.
“The PDP members had gone beserk. Nothing of sort has happened anywhere in any court of law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The APC admonished the residents of the state to shun the rumour describing it as wicked and cynical jubilation by PDP members around some centres in Osogbo that they have won at the Tribunal.
“It is not only false, it is intended to create confusion in the state capital and other cities. What happened today at the tribunal was not a judgment. ‘The Tribunal simply had addresses by all counsel, representing their clients on the case. After that, the Tribunal chairman adjourned sitting indefinitely.
“No date has been fixed for judgment. Only a terrible mischief-maker and political vagabond will go about town declaring victory and rejoicing in a case of this nature which the court has not made final pronouncement on.
‘The people of Osun should disregard PDP’s antics. ‘That party is already losing its mind and its leadership in the state of Osun needs spiritual and medical help.
‘Governor Rauf Aregbesola is in charge and All Progressives Congress is the party in power in the State of Osun.
‘Nothing has changed that fact. Osun people should go about their lawful businesses and treat the PDP people who are jubilitating over nothing with pity for something has seriously wrong with them, the APC said.
However, the Chairman of the three member panel, Justice Elizabeth Ikpejime, adjourned indefinitely, saying the date of the judgement would be communicated to the parties.
“It is a fact that based on intelligence at the Command’s disposal, there was massive deployment of policemen at conspicuous locations in Port Harcourt to forestall breakdown of law and order.
“Members of the public are by this release called to ignore and disregard the rumour, please.”
When contacted, Okocha also told THISDAY that he was not under house arrest.
He however raised concern over the massive police presence around his residence.
According to him, “I woke up this morning to see about six troopers of police around my residence. Although my movement was not restricted, the police have not explained to me why that large security presence.