Crime & Law
Labour Party candidate withdraws petition against Rep-elect
The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 National Assembly election in Akoko North East and North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State, Badmus Ademuyiwa, Saturday told the election petition tribunal of his desire to withdraw the petition against the House of Representatives member-elect, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.
Ademuyiwa’s intention was made known through the Ondo State LP’s counsel, Mr Femi Emodamori, at the Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal in Akure.
Emodamori told the tribunal that the LP candidate, who was the second petitioner, had decided to discontinue his petition against Tunji-Ojo, the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that LP and its candidate, Ademuyiwa, had earlier petitioned INEC for not allowing the party’s logo to be on the ballot paper during the election and asked for another election to hold in the federal constituency.
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The petitioners included Tunji-Ojo and INEC in their petition.
The petitioners’ counsel, told the tribunal that the first petitioner, LP, would, however, continue in the case.
Emodamori, therefore, asked the tribunal to allow him make an application for amendment in the petition by removing the name of the second petitioner.
Responding, Mr Tolu Babaleye, the counsel to the second respondent, INEC, and Mrs Stella Odike, the counsel to the first counsel, opposed the application for the amendment, saying that it was it was late to do so.
Ruling on the case, Mrs Rose Soji, the Chairman of the tribunal, promised that all applications would be accommodated and decided upon according to the law.
Soji, therefore, adjourned the case to May 17 for considerations of all applications and for further hearing.
Similarly, the tribunal heard the pre-hearing matter of petition of Mr Kolawole Olugbenga, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Akoko South East/Akoko South-West Federal Constituency against Mr Olugbenga Adefarati, a candidate of APC and House of Representatives member-elect in the constituency.
Olugbenga had approached and told the tribunal that the APC and its candidate should not have even taken part in the Feb. 25 House of Representative election according to a Federal Court’s judgement that asked them not to participate.
Olugbenga, through his counsel, Mr Tolu Babaleye, asked the court to cancel the victory accorded Adefarati and declare PDP and its candidate winner of the election in the constituency.
In their responses, the counsel to Adefarati, Mr Yinka Orokoto, the APC’s counsel, Dr A.O Ajana, and the INEC’s counsel, Mrs Titilsyo Osagie, asked the tribunal to dismiss and strike out the petition.
They said that the petition was incompetent and that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain such petition.
They told the court that a higher court’s ruling had given INEC and APC ability to accommodate Adefarati in the said election.
Justice Soji, who ruled on the case, therefore, adjourned the case to May 27 for petitioners to prove their petitions and asked all the three respondents to call their witnesses on May 30.
The tribunal, similarly, had a pre-hearing on a petition by Mr Tunji Balogun of LP in Ilaje/Ese Odo Federal Constituency, alleging that the LP logo was missing on the ballot papers during the election in the constituency.
Balogun joined INEC and APC’s candidate, Mr Donald Ojogo, as respondents.
Balogun’s Counsel, Mr Odusola Omolegbon, therefore, called for the cancellation of the election and conduct of a fresh election in the constituency for fairness to all the candidates.
Ojogo’s counsel, Mr Olusola Oke, INEC’s counsel, Mr Kehinde Aladedutisure, and the APC’s counsel, Ajana, told the court that the petition lacked merit and should be discarded by the tribunal.
Ajana noted that the petitioner’s name could not be accommodated by INEC because it was submitted late.
He described the petition as a gross of abuse of the court.
The tribunal adjourned sitting to May 18 for further pre-hearing.