A Special Panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday affirmed the decision of the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had earlier struck out all allegations of vote-buying and voter inducement that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Governorship candidate in Ogun State Hon Ladi Adebutu made against Governor Dapo Abiodun and the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC).
Penpushing reports that the court in its lead judgment read by Justice M.B Idris, also upheld another decision of the tribunal which confirmed the validity of the defence filed by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State
The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Adebutu it is recalled had on 22 May 2023 filed a reply to the defence filed by Governor Abiodun and in the said reply, Adebutu and his party alleged, for the first time, that Governor Abiodun and All Progressives Congress (APC) bought votes in the 18 March 2023 Ogun State Governorshiip elections.
Penpushing further reports that the Governor”s lawyers on receipt of Adebutu’s reply filed an application asking the tribunal to strike out the reply in its entirety or in the alternative, to strike out offending paragraphs from that reply.
arguing that the reply filed by Adebutu and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contravened paragraph 16(1)(a & b) of the schedule to the Electoral Act and the rules of court pleadings.
The Tribunal agreed with the Governor’s lawyers and struck out the entire reply filed by Adebutu and his opposition party (PDP), while it was established before the panel that the allegation made by Adebutu and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was an after thought which was hastily put together after Governor Abiodun made weighty allegations backed up with police investigation report establishing that Adebutu and his party bought votes during the elections in his defence.
Penpushing also reports that it was as a result of this debacle that the Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Oladipupo Adebutu hurriedly sneaked out of the country and still remains at large till now, while other leaders of the party in Ogun State are currently standing trial in court.
The Court of Appeal confirmed that all allegations of vote-buying in Adebutu’s reply were incompetent and as such, the Court of Appeal struck out paragraphs 21, 22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 of the reply leaving some few hollow paragraphs.
Penpushing reports that in a related development the Court of Appeal threw out the entire appeal filed by Adebutu and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the decision of the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the validity of Governor Abiodun’s defence.
The Governor earlier in his defence had made a strong allegations of electoral fraud against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Ladi Adebutu, which was allegedly perpetrated during the March 18 2023 Governorship election in the state, while rather than counter these weighty allegations, Adebutu’s lawyers belatedly introduced their own counter-allegations of vote buying (all of which have now been struck out) while also asking the tribunal to strike out the Governor’s allegations of vote-buying.
Penpushing further reports that Adebutu and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had argued that their petition did not include allegations of vote buying and so the Governor’s defence should not also have included such allegations.
The tribunal, however, in its ruling, unanimously held that Governor Abiodun was not restricted to the same issues that Adebutu and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) raised in their petition and that the Governor was free to allege and prove acts of vote-buying against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) its candidate.
Penpushing also reports that the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld that decision describing the appeal filed by Adebutu as unmeritorious and struck out the appeal in its entirety, with these decisions, it is now clear that the afterthought allegations of vote-buying made by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been thrown out and all evidence that they purportedly snuck into the tribunal will be useless having been confirmed by the Court of Appeal to be based on incompetent claims.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, the allegations of vote-buying made by Governor Abiodun against Peoples Democratic Party (PD and Ladi Adebutu, the Governorship Candidate remain competent before the tribunal whose decision will be rendered in due course.
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