Sunday September 15, 2019 11:58 PM

Rhodes-Vivour vs Yayi: Tribunal upholds Solomon Yayi’s victory

The National Assembly and State Houses Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal, sitting in Ikeja has upheld the election of Sen. Solomon Adeola (Yayi) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Lagos West Senatorial district.

The three-member tribunal, led by Justice Kunaza Hamidu, held that the petition filed by Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the election of Adeola, failed to establish any prima facie case against him.

“The petition lacked merit and is hereby dismissed.

“The declaration of Sen. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) as winner of Feb. 23 National Assembly election is hereby affirmed, “the tribunal declared.

Rhodes-Vivour had dragged Adeola and INEC before the Tribunal, challenging the result of the Lagos West Senatorial District election over alleged irregularities.

The PDP candidate in his petition claimed that Adeola was not entitled to be returned as duly elected candidate, alleging that the election was marred by irregularities, malpractices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

He also claimed that INEC wrongly declared Adeola winner of the polls with 328,817 votes, while he scored 243,516 votes, noting that INEC ought to have declared him winner of the election instead of Adeola.

He further claimed that he scored the highest lawful votes cast at the election.

Rhodes-Vivour, through his counsel, Francis Akintola further alleged that the conduct of the election by INEC was fraught with vote-buying.

Other irregularities the petitioner alleged were violence, over-voting, inducement of voters with monetary and material gains, coercion of opponents, campaigning and lobbying of voters on the day of election.

He also alleged that in his petition that there was no accreditation and proper accreditation of voters by INEC officials, intimidation and arrest of his supporters.

The petitioner also told the tribunal that poll agents as well as instigation of electoral violence by agents of first respondent characterised the election.

Rhodes-Vivour also alleged that apart from the listed irregularities, there were irreconcilable entries in the result declared and the number of votes recorded in favour of Adeola by INEC.

“INEC ought not to have declared Yayi the winner of the election.

“This is because the number of registered voters in the polling units where the election was cancelled by INEC is greater than the number of votes with which the first respondent purportedly won the election. “he added.

But in their defence, Adeola, APC and INEC through their counsel, E. Akudo and Nojim Tairu, denied all allegations contained in the petition describing them as unfounded fabrications.

They insisted that Adeola scored the highest lawful votes cast at the election and urged the tribunal to dismiss Rhodes-Vivour’s petition with substantial costs.

During trial, Akudo filed three applications on behalf of Adeola and APC, while Tairu filed one application for INEC.

The respondents objected to certain paragraphs in the petition and urged the tribunal to strike them out as they were vague and lacked substance.

The tribunal granted the prayer of the respondents and struck out the ‘offensive’, saying that the petitioner failed to show the exact scores as he claimed, thereby rubbishing his petition before the tribunal.

According to the three man panel, “the witnesses are those who were present on the day of the election, therefore, the failure of the petitioner to present the exact scores has thereby rubbished his claim.

“The petitioner did not present any of his polling agents.”

The tribunal declared that the national assembly elections from which Adeola emerged winner was held in accordance with the Electoral Act and other relevant laws.

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