. Tribunal orders Fresh poll in Yaba
Reported by Cyriacus Izuekwe & KAZEEM UGBODAGA
After losing Ikoyi-Obalende Local Council Development Area to its rival, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the ruling party in Lagos State, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Thursday lost another local council, the Agbado Oke-Odo LCDA, to the PDP.
Delivering judgment in a petition filed by Otunba Busari Ayinde of the PDP against the declaration of Dr. Augustine Arogun of the ACN as the winner of the 26 November, 2011 local government election in the state, the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lagos, held that the PDP candidate actually won and should be sworn in immediately.
The tribunal also nullified the declaration of Mr. Jide Jimoh of the ACN as the winner of the election held in Yaba Local Council Development Area and ordered a fresh poll in the council.
The tribunal said it based its decisions on the irregularities that took place during the conduct of the election in the two councils.
Reading the judgment which lasted for about six hours, Justice S. Owobiyi said Otunba Busari Ayinde of the PDP won the local government election in Agbado Oke-Odo, having polled a total of 10, 826 valid votes cast in the election, while his closest opponent, Dr. Augustine Arogun of the ACN polled 10,321.
The tribunal stated that it arrived at the decision after removing the invalid votes.
Justice Owobiyi also faulted the state INEC for declaring Dr. Arogun winner, saying he shouldn’t have been declared winner in the first place.
P.M.NEWS gathered that three members of the five-man tribunal ruled in favour of the PDP candidate while two ruled in favour of the ACN candidate.
Immediately after the judgement, PDP members went into wild jubilation, singing victory song while ACN supporters said they were going to appeal against the judgment.
Also delivering judgment on the Yaba LCDA poll, the tribunal nullified the election and ordered LASIEC to conduct a fresh election within three months.
The tribunal ruled that the incumbent chairman, Mr. Jide Jimoh and his deputy, Bola Lawal should not be allowed to participate in the fresh election. The tribunal arrived at the decision after it unanimously upheld the argument of the petitioner that the processes that produced Jimoh and his deputy, were in contravention of the electoral law.
The tribunal noted that Bola Lawal’s name was not in any ACN register in Yaba LCDA where she was nominated as a running mate by Jimoh.
The tribunal also noted that there was intimidation and electoral malpractice during the election and therefore nullified the entire election.
There was no immediate reaction from the counsel representing Jimoh to the tribunal’s judgment removing his client as the Chairman of Yaba LCDA but the counsel representing Dr. Arogun of Agbado Oke-Odo, thanked members of the tribunal and informed them that he was going to appeal against the judgment.
Reacting to the judgment, Chairman of PDP in Lagos State, Tunji Shelle, said the party received the news of the judgment with great joy because the party won the election but it was rigged by the ACN.
He said government at the state level has been stalling development at the council but PDP has money to develop the LCDA.
According to him, residents of Agabado/Oke-odo LCDA should expect something great from the PDP as the council which had been neglected will begin to experience transformation.
Publicity Secretary of PDP, Gani Taofeek, said members of the party were happy over the judgment.
He called on residents of Agbado/Oke-odo to support the PDP and resist every attempt not to hand over to the party that was declared winner by the tribunal. He thanked the judiciary for doing a good job.
In his own reaction, Publicity Secretary of ACN, Lagos State, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said the party will appeal against the judgement. ”There is no cause for alarm. We are going to appeal against the judgment,” he added.