As the eagerly anticipated judgment day at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Ogun State approaches, both camps, that of incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his challenger Ladi Adebutu from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are brimming with optimism about the outcome.
The attention has now shifted to the state-level tribunals following the conclusion of the Presidential Election Petition Court’s duties last Wednesday. Incumbent governors across the country await the verdict that will determine their political fate.
The tribunal had reserved its ruling on the petition after an extensive three-month sitting. Adebutu’s petition outlined allegations of violence, irregularities, and rigging during the election. He contended that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to comply with the Electoral Act and accused the governor and the APC of corrupt practices during the election. Adebutu also alleged that the process was marred by violence in over 99 polling units, disenfranchising more than 40,000 voters.
In response, Governor Abiodun vehemently contested all the claims and urged the tribunal to dismiss the case on the grounds that the petitioners had not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate their allegations.
Abiodun’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), characterized Adebutu’s petition as an academic exercise and pointed out deficiencies in the petition’s documentation. Olanipekun noted, “The document is not signed, not dated, no heading, no title, no identity, no signature, no stamp. The CTC has no signature.”
However, Chris Uche, SAN, the counsel representing Adebutu, countered these arguments, asserting that all documents presented by the petitioners were obtained from INEC. Uche urged the tribunal to either declare Adebutu the winner of the governorship election or order a rerun in the 99 polling units where he alleged disruptions had occurred.
The tension mounts as the tribunal’s ruling draws near, and both sides remain resolute in their expectations of a favorable outcome. The judgment will undoubtedly have significant implications for Ogun State’s political landscape.