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Ondo state governorship election tribunal holds inaugural sitting, dismisses two out of three petitions

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THE 2020 Ondo state governorship election petition tribunal, on Tuesday, held its inaugural sitting at the State High Court in Akure.

Justice Abubakar Umar, chairman of the tribunal, who disclosed that the tribunal has three petitions before it, asked all parties involved to give the tribunal all the support needed to enable them to succeed in the assignment.

Justice Umar, in his inaugural address, also appealed to the legal representatives to maintain a cordial relationship with the tribunal members,  adding that there should be no private or official communication between any member of the tribunal and legal representatives.

The tribunal chairman called on the legal teams to pursue their cases diligently, noting that video coverage of the tribunal proceedings is prohibited according to the law.

He also called on all media professionals to always abide by the rules of the law and the tribunal.

Meanwhile, the tribunal has dismissed two out of the three petitions filed before it for failing to file the pre-trial forms.

The political parties affected by the tribunal’s decision are All People’s Party (APP) and Action Alliance (AA), remaining Eyitayo Jegede of the People’s Democratic Party.

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The tribunal subsequently awarded N100,000 cost against the petitioners in favor of respondents.

Jegede is challenging the election of Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the October 10 governorship election in the state.

Joined in the petition by Jegede are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the deputy governor-elect.

Jegede through his counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, is praying the tribunal should upturn the election saying that the election was fraught with massive irregularities such as vote-buying, intimidation of party supporters and pockets of violence.

The PDP candidate is also challenging the process that saw the emergence of Akeredolu as the flagbearer of his party.

According to results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Akeredolu won the governorship election with a total of 292,830. He won in 15 of the 18 local governments.

Jegede polled 195,791 votes and won only three in Akure South, Akure North and Ifedore.

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While Agbola Ajayi, estranged deputy governor to Akeredolu polled 69,127 votes to emerge the third winner.

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