An Appeal court sitting at Igbosere, Lagos State has affirmed the judgement of the Election Tribunal declaring Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun winner of the March 18, 2023 Gubernatorial polls in the state as challenged by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Hon. Ladi Adebutu.
In a majority judgement delivered by the duo of Justices J.S. Ikyegh and Muhammed Mustapha, the appellate court dismissed the appeal brought before it by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the state, Hon. Ladi Adebutu.
The court held that the appeal lacked merit as it found no substance in it and subsequently dismissed it, affirming the earlier decision of the Tribunal without costs.
Recall that the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta had on September 30, 2023, upheld Abiodun’s declaration as the winner of the March 18, governorship election.
Adebutu, dissatisfied, had filed an appeal at the appellate court, challenging the judgment of the election petition tribunal.
But his Appeal was dismissed by the appellate court in a majority decision of 2 to 1. Of significance are the conclusions of the court that it is a petitioner who bears responsibility to prove that an election was marred by corrupt practices, and that Appellants did not so prove.
Court holds further that Appellants did not prove the allegation of certificate forgery against Governor Abiodun and noted that the Tribunal did not believe the evidence of certain witnesses because of their demeanours and because of the chorused nature of their testimony.
Maintaining that appellate courts generally do not interfere with such assessments, it held that the assessment of the Tribunal is undisturbed.
While upholding the expunging of the evidence of the forensic experts, the court held that there is a huge crater in the petition of the appellants, making same castrated, sterile, and with no legs to stand on.
Court followed the principle that when a decision is ultimately correct, it is immaterial that some reasons may have been applied since the appellate courts concern themselves with the conclusions mainly.
On the issue of disenfranchisement raised by the appellant, the court held that it was the duty of Appellants to prove disenfranchisement by calling voters who could vote but were disenfranchised, adding that in this petition rather, the Appellants did not call any disenfranchised voter. That instead, the Appellants called persons who truly voted.
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after the court judgement, the State Deputy Governor, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, appreciated God Almighty for the victory at the court of Appeal and gave kudos to the judicial body for reaffirming Governor Dapo Abiodun’s victory thereby delivering true judgement which she said will reinforce the peoples confidence in the Country’s Judicial system.
“The people of Ogun state voted overwhelmingly for APC and Governor Dapo Abiodun’s to be the Governor of the state from 2023 till 2027 but unfortunately distractors have taken us through this process but once again the court has upheld the victory and we know that the victory is ours”
She added that, ‘ Even if they go to the supreme court, we are confident that the supreme court will rule in our favour so that we can continue to deliver good governance to the people of the state as we strive to achieve all round development’
While thanking the Governments counsels for their hard work at ensuring that the truth is delivered at all times, she felicitated the Governor, party leaders and faithfuls for another well deserved victory in the pursuit of the rule of law.