The Ondo State Elections Petitions Tribunal, this morning nullified the election of Governor Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State, and declared Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the 14 April, 2007 election, winner of the election.
The five-man tribunal led by Garba Nabaruma, in its one hour, 15 minutes judgement, also ordered that Mimiko should be sworn in immediately as the governor of the state because he won the valid votes in 12 out of the 18 local governments in the state.
According to the tribunal, the Labour Party candiddate won 198,269 votes while the PDP candidate, Agagu won 128, 669 votes.
By this, the tribunal stated that Mimiko won 25 per cent of the valid votes in 13 out of the 18 local governments in the state, thereby fulfilling the constitutional provision, which states that a candidate must win at least two-thirds of the votes cast in 13 local governments.
The tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Mimiko with the certificate of return as the winner of the 14 April, 2007 governorship election in the state, and thereafter be sworn in as the governor.
Commenting on the judgement, counsel to Mimiko, Wole Olanipekun, said members of the tribunal should be praised for their uprightness in upholding justice. He said despite the pressure on them to do otherwise, they were able to uphold the course of justice.
Also commenting on the judgement, commissioner for information, Eddy Olafeso, described the judgement as a travesty of justice, adding that the governor would appeal the judgement. Lawyers to Agagu also said that the governor would appeal the judgement, a move that will stall the actualisation of the Tribunal’s order that Mimiko be sworn in immediately.
Agagu, while addressing the press after the verdict, said the battle was still on and that he had consulted his lawyers to appeal the judgement.
The battle to take over power from Agagu by Mimiko started over a year ago.
The tribunal was constituted after Mimiko challenged the declaration of Agagu as winner of the election by INEC.
Part of the election results being contested by Mimiko and his party include INEC’s submission that PDP scored 53.2 percent of the total votes cast, while the LP scored 34.4 per cent.
The Labour Party in a swift reaction rejected the submission, adding that the 349,258 votes alloted to PDP and the 226,021 votes alloted to the LP by INEC, were not the true reflection of the people’s wishes.
The proceeding was a rivetting affair, with witnesses after witnesses giving evidence on ghost voters registration, illegal thumbprinting and inflation of votes. In one instance, it was found that many prominent people, including foreigners such as Mike Tyson, not resident in the state, were listed on the voter register and printing materials meant for other states were illegally used in Ondo State.
Activists this morning expressed satisfaction over the Ondo State elections petitions tribunal which declared Dr. Olusegun Mimiko the duly elected governor of the state.
The activists, who spoke to P.M.News on telephone, said the stolen election has been recovered. According to Comrade Abiodun Aremu, Convener, United Action for Democracy, UAD, it is a welcome development that the tribunal was one of the very few tribunals that was thorough, and had less controversies.
“It was a non-partisan tribunal. It was a transparent tribunal that admitted all the evidences of the stolen election. That was the missing link in Osun State. It was the same Adrian Forty that conducted the forensic test at the Ondo State Petitions Tribunal.
“It is a welcome development and we are happy with it.”
According to Ezeke Ibuchukwu, Executive President, Civil Liberties Organisation, “it has confirmed the position of CLO, that monitored the election in the six states of the south-west, that the election was massively rigged.
“We appreciate the tribunal for upholding the verdict of the people and we appeal to the appellant court to uphold the verdict of the tribunal.”
Saharareporters, New York
The Justice Garba Nabaruma-led elections petitions tribunal in Ondo State has declared Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of the Labor party the winner of the April 2007 governorship election in Ondo State. Saharareporters was the first to report that the elections in Ondo State would be annulled and judgment delivered in favor of the opposition candidate.
The losing candidate, Agagu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would likely move to the yet-to-be constituted Court of Appeal in Benin for the final stage of contest. The court of appeal elections petitions panel has the final say on electoral cases in Nigeria.
Legal observers told Saharareporters that the Court of Appeal wing of the Nigerian judicial system remains totally compromised.
Today's ruling will be the second time a tribunal of first appeal would declare a candidate winner in its ruling and also the eleventh gubernatorial election to be upturned by an elections petitions tribunal adjudicating on cases of elections petitions arising from the deeply flawed April 2007 general elections in Nigeria.
Reports from Channelstv.com:
The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ondo state capital Akure, today declared the Labour Party governorship candidate Dr. Olusegun Mimiko winner of the April governorship election.
Justice Garba Nabaruma in his judgment said Dr. Mimiko scored 198,261 lawful votes against 128,669 vote of the incumbent governor Dr. Olusegun Agagu.
The Tribunal Chairman also announced the nullification of all votes from Ilaje Local Government Area the home base of Governor Agagu.
According to Justice Nabaruma Dr. Mimiko won two third of the total votes from the eighteen Local Government Areas of the state council to the governor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mr. Lateef Fagbemi told journalist that he is considering the option of appeal but that will come after consultation with his client, Dr. Olusegun Agagu.
It would be recalled that the Labour Party governorship candidate, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko petitioned the tribunal challenging the incumbent governor Dr. Olusegun Agagu as the winner of the 2007 election by INEC.