The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Biodun Oyebanji won the state’s governorship election in June, according to the Ado Ekiti-based Ekiti State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
The three-person panel, which was presided over by Justice Wilfred Kpochi, decided that Segun Oni, a candidate for the Social Democratic Party, had made generalised and unspecific claims of vote-trading, election manipulation, and procedural violations.
The tribunal also rejected the request to have the APC’s deputy governorship candidate disqualified for allegedly forging certificates. The tribunal reasoned that the request was not made within the legally required 21-day window of time, and that bringing up new evidence and arguments in the middle of proceedings would violate injunctions.
The tribunal further ruled that it is irrelevant whether Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni signed Oyebanji’s nomination form or not because both the candidate and his running partner were legitimately chosen at the party’s primary.
The petitioner’s lawyer criticised the ruling as being unsatisfactory and careless of the relevant facts and announced that an appeal will be filed.
Oyebanji defeated his two closest rivals, Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bisi Kolawole of the People’
s Democratic Party, with a total of 187,057 votes.
With 82,211 votes, the SDP came in second, and the PDP took third with 67,457 votes.
When the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, was declared the victor of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the SDP’s Oni filed a suit at the tribunal on July 7 challenging the results of the poll.
His argument was based on allegations of voter fraud, the circumvention of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) at several polling places, and the validity of the WAEC certificate offered by Monisade Afuye, the APC deputy governorship candidate.