Elections 2015: Tribunal Overflows with Petitions
The 2015 elections had come and gone, but it seems that instead of going and leaving the Nation to enjoy her peace, it still lurks around the corner with angry stares, thanks to scores of election petitions overflowing at the Tribunal. According to the Secretary to the tribunal, Alaba Ariyo, 5 governorship candidates are at the tribunal seeking justice for elections that they believed was manoeuvred.
Aside the five governorship cases, Ariyo reveals that several other petitions from Senate, House of Representative and House of Assembly candidates are also sitting smugly in files waiting to be heard and for justice.
It would be recalled that even the Presidential polls that had General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who defeated the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, was challenged and almost dragged to the Tribunal by People’s Democratic Party’s agent Bello Fadile who vowed to reveal the charade and lies that surrounded the polls against Jonathan. But for the timely intervention of the President Jonathan, who insisted that conceding defeat meant he had no issues anymore and would not go before any tribunal.
Well, President Jonathan may have got no more fight left in him, but across the country there are many people who feel short-changed and are going the extra mile to retrieve a “stolen mandate.” The governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje, who had followed the footstep of Jonathan by conceding defeat and even congratulated Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC) after the official declaration of result that Ambode won the gubernatorial election in Lagos with 811,994 votes to defeat Agbaje who polled 659,788 votes, is now screaming foul. The Pharmacist/Politician has on Thursday, 30 April filed a petition at the tribunal 2015, praying the Tribunal to look into some facts and indices that would show that he should have been declared the winner.
The petitioner is contesting Ambode’s victory on three grounds:
- INEC’s non-compliance with Section 7 of its own 2015 Election Guidelines which provides for the use of card readers in all polling units. Agbaje is therefore seeking the cancellation of the results of all polling units where card readers were not used.
- APC’s non-compliance with Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which stipulates that a party must give INEC 21-day notice of the convention where it intends to choose its governorship candidate. APC’s letter notifying INEC of the convention where Ambode was elected was submitted on November 18, 2014 while he was chosen as the party’s candidate on December 4, 2014, 5 days shy of the official requirement.
- Ambode’s allegedly conflicting claims of his state of origin. Agbaje is alleging that the APC candidate stated in his JAMB form (REG No: 646789) that he’s from Ilaje Local Government Area in Ondo State while in his governorship form, he claims, under oath, to be from Epe in Lagos State.
In Oyo, former governor of the State and governorship can¬didate of Accord Party in the April 11 poll, Sena¬tor Rashidi Ladoja, has submitted his petition against the return of the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, of the APC, as the winner of the election. It was also revealed that in Oyo alone, the tribunal in the State has received 35 peti¬tions relating to the gover¬norship and House of As¬sembly as well as National Assembly polls, conducted on April 11 and March 28 respectively.
In Delta State, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru of the Labour Party had also raised an alarm in a press conference at Abraka on Thursday, 16 April 2015, claiming that rigging in Delta Gubernatorial Election “is too senseless to ignore.”. He then stated that he was heading to the election tribunal to contest the results as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the declaration of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the governor-elect.
But it is his APC counterpart, Olorogun O’Tega Emerhor that has got there first. Emerhor, in the petition by his counsel, Chief T. J. Okpoko, SAN, is demanding that governorship poll is cancelled, and order a re-run. His main argument: “The number of accredited voters for results announced was more than actual card reader records while violence and ballot box snatching marred the election.”
But the real elections 2015 battle royale is going to be between the two Delta State House of Assembly candidates, Barrister Pat Princess Ajudua of PDP and Chief Tony Uche Azuya of APGA. Chief Azuya has officially filed a petition against Mrs Ajudua with election tribunal, claiming that the results were massively rigged by Ajudua in collusion with the State INEC Returning officer. Days after the result was announced, over two thousand members of Oshimili North chapter of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA took to the streets to protest the result. The Director General of the Azuya campaign organization, Mr. Afam Enemokwu, in an interview with the Vanguard Newspapers, had described “the election as the worst ever witnessed with massive rigging, manipulation, snatching of ballots boxes and sensitive electoral materials as well as intimidation of electorate by the members of the People Democratic Party, PDP.”
There are other numerous cases in other States like APC against Kashamu in Ogun state, also the defeated (PDP) candidate in the governorship election in Benue State, Mr Terhemen Tarzoor has filed petition against the APC governor-elect of Benue Dr. Samuel Ortom! Not forgetting the case between Senator Jummai Alhassan and Darius Ishaku of Taraba, Senator Alhassan of the APC calls the election results “Daylight robbery” and vowed not to accept such.
Others include APC’s petition against Nyesom Wike in Rivers State where they alleged that PDP connived with INEC officials to perpetrate fraud during the election and said the result of the election would not stand. He said he was optimistic that the APC governorship candidate in the election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, would eventually become the state governor.
All these cases are presently waiting to be heard, which means that believing the elections 2015 had come and gone was just wishful thinking, as events might still unfold to reveal more intrigues.
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