OGUN LG ELECTIONS PETITION TRIBUNAL DISMISSES NNPP’S APPEAL FOR CANCELLATION, OTHERS - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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OGUN LG ELECTIONS PETITION TRIBUNAL DISMISSES NNPP’S APPEAL FOR CANCELLATION, OTHERS

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The Ogun State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta has dismissed all 12 election petitions filed by the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), seeking to declare the election null and void the chairmanship seat for 11 Local Government Areas in the election held on Saturday, 24th July 2021.

The NNPP had dragged the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the duly elected Chairmen in  11 Local Government areas which included Yewa South, Yewa North, Ado-Odo/Ota, Ewekoro, Ifo, Abeokuta North, Obafemi-Owode, Imeko-Afon, Odeda, Ijebu North as well as the Councillor of Ward 14 (Imala) Abeokuta North (as second and third respondents respectively) to the Tribunal.

The petitioner prayed the Tribunal to among others things,  determine and declare that the 11 Chairmen and Imala ward 14 Councillor were not duly elected and ought to have not been returned; issue an Order directing the first respondent., OGSIEC to withdraw the Certificates of Return issued to the elected officers or in the alternative, issue an Order for a fresh election in all the polling units  mentioned in the petition.

In their separate Notices of Preliminary Objections filed before the Tribunal, OGSIEC  contended among other grounds that the petitions filed were not competent in that they were status barred, having been filed outside the time prescribed by the Electoral Law of Ogun State 2006, while the second and third respondents,  having entered conditional appearance on the 25th of October 2021, prayed the Tribunal also for an Order striking out the various petitions on the ground of incompetence, to wit non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Law of Ogun State, 2006 and the First schedule of the Electoral Act.


Delivering the judgement, in 6 of the Petitions, the Chairman of Panel B of the Tribunal, Otunba Rotimi Onafadeji, maintained that the petitioner failed to file its petition within 14 days as stipulated in Section 86 of the Electoral Law of Ogun State, 2006 as amended.

According to Onafadeji, “It is the considered view of this Tribunal that the petitions were not initiated by due process of the law, no matter how well couched or the likelihood of its merit. We therefore hold that this petition having not being initiated within the time allowed by the Law under Section 86 of the Electoral Law of Ogun State, 2006 is incompetent and thus, this Tribunal is not competent to entertain same.”

The Tribunal held that time was of essence in dealing with election matters as the spirit of various laws relating to election petition was that as much as possible, petitions should be given expeditious adjudication to enable the parties know their position, the society know the result of the election in which they have voted, as such, the Preliminary Objection on the sole issue formulated succeeds and consequently, the petition dated the 10th day of August, 2021 but filled on the 22nd day of October, 2021 is hereby dismissed and awarded N25,000 in favour of each of the respondents.

Reacting to the Ruling, OGSIEC’s  Chairman, Mr. Babatunde Osibodu said the ruling was a good omen for the Commission , adding that results of the 2021 Local government elections held on  the 24th of July, 2021 was declared and announced immediately, and the Chief Justice of the State expeditiously set up Election Tribunal in order to ensure compliance with the Electoral Law of Ogun State which prescribes that all petition must be filed within 14 days of the declaration of the results, which the petitioner failed to comply with and its legal representatives hinged their argument on. 

Shedding light on the petition, Osibodu posited that, “You will also recall that sometimes ago, I made a statement that only one petition had been filed against the results of the elections as declared. Subsequently, I was made to understand that the state Chairman of one of the political parties made a statement to the effect that I didn’t know what I was talking about because his party had filed several other petitions but I stood by the fact that only one petition had been filed by the dateline of 14th of August 2021. Subsequently, it came to light that 12 petitions dated the 10th of August 2021 were filed by NNPP challenging the results of the elections but interestingly, these petitions were not filed until the 22nd of October.

"So they were way and months out of time within which to have filed their petitions and it is on this basis that our legal representatives put forward preliminary objections to each of the petition on the basis that they have been filed out of time and am very pleased to say that the tribunal agreed with us in each of these petitions and subsequently, granted our preliminary objections and ruled that all the 12 petitions filed by the NNPP be dismissed. Not only were they dismissed, costs were awarded against the petitioner in favour of each of the respondents”, he concluded.

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