Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital has dismissed applications seeking to strike out the petition filled by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the last election, Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka and his party against Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Henry Olusiyi while ruling on three applications filed before it by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the All Progressives Congress, APC and Senator Ibikunle Amosun held that granting prayers contained in the application would amount to standing justice on its head.
Issues for determination, according to the ruling, were whether the petitioners’ reply to each of the replies of the respondents was filed within time and is incompetent and whether in the circumstances, the petitioners could be deemed to have abandoned their petition.
The tribunal, sitting paragraph 47 (4) (5) of the first schedule of electoral act, 2010 (as amended) held that the petitioner’s reply was filed outside the five days as required by law and struck it out as being incompetent.
The chairman however determined the other prayer in favour of the petitioners maintaining that the issues raised were technical issues saying the time of technicalities was gone in law.
The judge who maintained that the petition could not be deemed abandoned in the circumstances said instead of technicalities, the substances in the petition would be determined.
“It is crystal clear that the petitioner’s reply in answer to each of the 1st and 2nd respondent’s reply and the reply of the 3rd to 128th respondents’ replies are hereby struck out. Issue one for determination, as formulated by the tribunal, is resolved in the negative, in favour of the respondents.
“In the circumstances, the petitioner cannot, stricto senso, be described as ‘sleeping petitioner’. This is not a clear cut case of abandonment of petition in the true sense of the meaning of the word ‘abandon’.
“To buy into the arguments of the learned senior counsel for the 3rd to 128th respondents/applicants to the effect that the petition should be deemed to have been abandoned by the petitioners, when all the parties, including the 3rd and 128th respondents have filed all the pre-hearing session processes, which have not been sought to be set aside is to allow technicalities to defeat the end of justice.
“In the prevailing circumstances of this case, the petitioners cannot be deemed to have abandoned their petition. This is not proper case for the tribunal to hold that the petitioner’s have abandoned their petition. To say so will be standing justice on its head,” the chairman ruled.
Relying on paragraph 16 (1) of the first schedule to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), Sofola (SAN) had argued that the petitioner failed to reply to his early affidavit within the 5 days prescription by law.
In his own argument, counsel to PDP and Isiaka, Adetunji Oyeyipo (SAN) reminded the court that the reply Sofola was referring to was a further counter affidavit and not an affidavit which could only be filed within 7 days.
Speaking after the ruling, counsel to APC, George Oyeniyi said the ruling would be appealed and incorporate it with what would be the outcome of the whole petition while lead counsel to Isiaka and PDP, Sayo Odumosun said he would explore other legal measures to cushion the effect of the first prayer granted in favour of the applicants.

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