The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday nullified the election of Senator Dayo Adeyeye of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the lawmaker representing Ekiti South Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
The tribunal in a unanimous verdict declared the former Minority Leader and the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Biodun Olujimi as the winner of the senatorial poll.
Adeyeye, the current Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity was declared winner of the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the February 23, 2019 senatorial election in the district.
Senator Olujimi had approached the tribunal, praying that she be declared the actual winner of the election, submitting that she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast during the keenly contested poll.
She prayed the tribunal to, in the alternative, nullify Adeyeye’s victory and order supplementary election in the district.
In her written address, Olujimi claimed that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, having been fraught with irregularities.
She prayed the tribunal to annul votes in areas which were found to be incredibly marred by irregularities such as over voting, multiple thumb printing, ballot paper snatching, ballot paper stuffing and improper vote counting.
The petitioner also accused the electoral body of dereliction of duty, arguing that most of the documents used for the conduct of the election were not duly signed by agents.
Counsels to the respondents however countered the submission, saying that INEC did what was right and constitutional by declaring the candidate of the APC the winner, having scored the highest number of lawful votes.
Delivering the judgement, the three -man tribunal led by Justice D.D. Adeck nullified the election in some polling units. The cancellations ensured that Olujimi polled a total of 54,894 votes against Adeyeye’s 52,243.
Justice Adeck added that apart from the nullification in some units, the outcome of the tribunal’s verdict was predicated on the recount of the ballots by the contending forces as granted by the court.
He said that for the petitioner to be so declared, she had proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there were cases of non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and other corrupt practices as duly raised in her petition.
The tribunal said that in Ikere, Gbonyin and Emure local governments areas, the petitioner was able to prove cases of over voting and as such, votes in those units were expunged from the results.