It’s D-day for Amosun, Jang, Wada as tribunal rules
LAGOS — It is decision day for Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Jonah Jang of Ogun and Plateau states respectively today as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunals deliver judgment in the petitions challenging their victories at the April polls.
Judgment is also expected today in the dispute between Captain Idris Wada and Alhaji Jibrin Isa over the ownership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP gubernatorial ticket in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the State.
Supporters of Governor Jang were at the weekend being mobilized for a victory celebration at the party secretariat in expectation of a positive judgment in the case in which Jang is pitched against his erstwhile deputy, Mrs. Paullen Tallen who was the candidate of the Labour Party, LP
Jang who was the candidate of the PDP in the gubernatorial election last April and was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC was dragged to the tribunal by Mrs. Tallen who claimed that the election did not comply substantially with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Attempts by counsel to Mrs. Tallen to strengthen her case by tendering INEC forms EC8E and EC8D to the Justice Suleiman Ambrosa led tribunal were turned down on the ground that the request fell outside the stipulated 14 days allowed for the submission of documents.
Governor Jang who had been on leave is back.
In Abeokuta supporters of Governor Amosun who was elected on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN were equally expectant of victory at the tribunal and are already mobilising for celebration
A strong indication emerged yesterday that the 3-man panel, has written the two parties, of its readiness to deliver the much-awaited judgment today, after both the petitioner and respondent submitted their written addresses.
The PDP had gone to the tribunal, to challenge the victory of Amosun during the last April general election.
It will be recalled that, the PDP had approached the tribunal, asking it to declare its party and its candidate ,Olurin, the winner of the election, having scored the highest number of valid votes cast in the last governorship election in the state.
It also prayed that, the votes cast for PPN should be added to that of PDP on the ground that the PPN members were PDP members.
The prayers were vehemently objected to by Amosun, the ACN and INEC that were joined as respondents.
After carefully listening to all the parties, the tribunal Chairman; Justice Bashir Sukola, announced that, it had reserved the judgment indefinitely.
ACN, spokesman in Ogun state, Sola Lawal said yesterday that there was no cause for alarm in the ACN camp as he asserted that the election in the state was free and fair.
The Secretary of the PDP in the state , Adepegba Otemolu , however, claimed ignorance of today’s judgment.
At the last hearing, when all the parties adopted their written addresses, the PDP, through its counsel, Ajibola Oluyede, asked the court to nullify the election of Amosun on the ground that, the election was not conducted in compliance with the electoral act.
He said, “INEC did not comply with the electoral Act by allowing PPN candidate to participate in the election.
“We are asking your lordship to apply Section 138 (1c) in this matter. The election of second respondent (Amosun) can be challenged , that he did not score a majority of the lawful votes cast.
“It is therefore , not sufficient under our laws for anyone who has won only a plurality of the votes cast to be declared and returned elected. I humbly urge your lordship to grant the relief” the PDP said.
In his defense, Amosun’s counsel, Dr Olumide Ayeni , who adopted his final address, filed September 10, urged the court to dispense justice according to the law and not on what ought to be, citing the case between Bakare and Nigeria Railway Corporation in 2007.
“The petitioner did not state the Local Governments to be nullified, the petition is so unmeritorious, I urge the court to dismiss it”, Dr Ayeni argued
Also today in Abuja, an Abuja High Court is expected to give judgment on who between Wada and Isah should be recognized as the PDP candidate in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
Justice Sunday E. Aladetoyinbo reserved judgment on the matter after listening to arguments by lawyers to the two men who are claiming the PDP ticket.
Isah had emerged as the candidate of the PDP in a primary election held in January before the gubernatorial election in the state was suspended upon the Supreme Court judgment that postponed the gubernatorial elections in six states.
Following the postponement the PDP organized fresh primaries which returned Wada as the candidate of the party.
The PDP machinery in Abuja and Lokoja are now fully supportive of the Wada candidature and gave support for Wada to launch his campaign last weekend.