Tribunal upholds Ajimobi election, Ladoja heads for A’Court
The Oyo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal,
sitting in Ibadan, has dismissed the petitions filed by a
former governor in the state, Rashidi Ladoja, challenging
the victory of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in the last April
governorship election in the state.
But counsel for Ladoja, Richard Ogunwole (SAN), said his
client would appeal the tribunal ruling, saying the reasons
given for the dismissal of the petitions were not convincing.
Ladoja and the Accord Party, on whose platform he
contested the election, were the petitioners in the case while
the All Progressives Congress, the Independent National
Electoral Commission and the state Resident Electoral
Commissioner, Rufus Akeju, were the defendants.
Mohammed Mayaki, in his ruling said the petitioners
‘woefully’ failed to establish their claims that the election
was marred by irregularities, violence and corrupt practices.
He said the petitioners also failed to engage an expert to
inspect the election materials, stressing that Bimbo
Adepoju, who inspected the materials was a farmer and an
interested party whose analysis could not be relied on.
Mayaki said the issues raised by all witnesses of the
petitioners were considered based on their relevance to the
mandate of the tribunal.
He said, “Allegations of violence and corrupt practices must
not only be established with detailed evidence but it must
be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
lot of allegations in respect of the criminal act, but did not
provide detailed evidence of the act in the April election.
They only made general allegation but we hereby state that
all those allegations and crimes were not established in this
petition beyond reasonable doubt.
“Allegation of falsification of result is a serious issue in any
election. The petitioners alleged severally that results were
falsified. The law is clear on this. This allegations cannot
stand. The petitioners also alleged that electoral officials
were biased in favour of the respondents. Assertion is not
enough, the allegation must be established.”
While faulting the statements made on oath by about 30
witnesses brought forward by the petitioners, the tribunal
chairman said it was not established that proper election
was not conducted in all the areas contested.
He also said that the petitioners made a mistake by not
engaging an expert to inspect the electoral materials. He
quoted relevant decided cases to back his ruling.
He said, “Bimbo Adepoju, who inspected the materials, is a
farmer, he is not competent to testify and present report of
an inspection team he led. He is not an expert, neither is
any member of the team. Consequently, his evidence
before this tribunal cannot be relied upon. Other witnesses
confirmed there was proper election because they said they
were accredited in their areas.
“In the effect, the election of the first respondent as the
governor of Oyo State in the governorship election held on
April 11, 2015, having scored the majority votes cast, was
substantially in compliance with the provision of the
Electoral Act 201 as amended. Accordingly, the petition is
While dissociating himself from the ruling, Ladoja’s
counsel, Ogunwole (SAN) said, “My view is that we are
completely dissatisfied with the judgment. If they base their
case mainly on this expert witness, we feel very strongly
that our witnesses tendered the relevant document. We are
moving quickly to the Court of Appeal.”
Reacting to the judgement, Ajimobi and his former Special
Adviser on Mobilisation, Deji Aboderin, dedicated the
governor’s victory to God and the people of the state, who
according to the governor, made him break the second term
jinx in the state.
The governor said the verdict had put to rest all the
falsehood being spread across the state by his opponents
after his victory.
He said, “Today’s judgment has strengthened my belief in
the judiciary as the bastion of our fragile democracy and the
bulwark of good governance. The judgment is not only a
victory for my party, the APC, but also a victory for
democracy and the rule of law. The road has not been
smooth and it has been long but events have been
encouraging and it goes to show that our faith has not been
In his reaction, Aboderin called on the people of the state to
unite and support Ajimobi in his effort to move the state