The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday nullified the election of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Dayo Adeyeye and declared former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi winner of the February 23 election in the Ekiti South Senatorial District.
The three-member tribunal chaired by Justice Danladi Adeck, in a unanimous decision nullified elections in some polling units which left Olujimi polling 54,894 votes to defeat Adeyeye, who scored 52,243 votes.
Justice Adeck said the petitioner proved cases of criminal allegations of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Acts and other corrupt practices raised in her petition beyond a reasonable doubt.
He said, “In Ikere, Gbonyin and Emure local governments, the petitioner was able to prove cases of over-voting and votes in those units were expunged from the ballots.
“It is not tenable to say that marked ballots were not properly deposited in the boxes because when this did not happen, then it will lead to over voting and will affect counting at every level of collation.
“To avoid this pitfall, those elections must be expunged in order not to vitiate the electoral process. Therefore, after those votes were deducted, PDP was left with 54,894 while the respondent polled 52,243.
“The petitioner having polled the highest number of lawful votes should be declared the winner of the election. We hereby declare the petitioner the winner and is hereby returned elected. We hereby direct the INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return from the respondent and issue same to the petitioner”, the chairman said.
Olujimi, had prayed the tribunal to, in the alternative, “nullify Adeyeye’s victory and order supplementary election accordingly in the district”.
Olujimi had also accused INEC of dereliction of duties, saying most of the documents used for the conduct of the election were not duly signed by agents.
But Adeyeye countered Olujimi’s submission, saying INEC did what was right and constitutional by declaring him winner having found to have got the highest number of lawful votes.
Speaking, Counsel to Sen. Adeyeye, Rafiu Balogun said his client had instructed him to proceed to the appeal court.
He also condemned the decision of the tribunal predicated on a recount of votes.
Balogun said ‘’they said there was a recount during the inspection but there was no order for recount which even contravenes the law as you can only do a recount in the polling unit. This ruling is absolutely shocking especially as the tribunal, itself never gave an order for a recount’’.
He said the appeal would be filed within the specified 21 days.