Judgement Day: Akeredolu, Jegede’s Fate to be Known Today

The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure, Ondo state, will today determine the fate of  the political duo in the petition filed by candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede, against the victory of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the October 2020 gubernatorial election.
The chairman of the three member panel, Justice Umar Abubakar had last week fixed the judgement for Wednesday through a notice.
However,  another notice issued on Monday evening by the Tribunal Secretary indicated that parties involved in the case were informed that the date has changed to Tuesday, April 20. It also said that the judgement would now be delivered via ZOOM and not in a regular court sitting.
 Counsel of both the PDP and APC were said to have been duly informed on Monday evening that the ruling has been brought forward to Tuesday.
It should be recalled that Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP and his party had approached the tribunal, asking that he should be declared winner of the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state, in which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), returned Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the APC for a second term as governor of the state.
The two parties had in February this year adopted their written addresses following which the tribunal subsequently reserved judgement to a later date “that will be communicated to both parties in the case in this month.
The petitioner who faulted Akeredolu and his deputy’s participation at the poll alleged that they were not validly nominated by their political party, the All Progressive Congress. In the course of the legal battle, the defence counsels, Akin Olujimi for Akeredolu and that of the APC, Lateef Fagbemi had pleaded with the court to dismiss Jegede on several grounds.
The defence counsel submitted that the petitioner had admitted in paragraph 12 of its petition the sponsorship of third and first respondents but failed to prove that they were not validly nominated. They described the petition as inconsistent which is forbidden by the law.
The defence counsel therefore prayed the court to dismiss the petition for not being properly instituted. Also they submitted that the tribunal lacks the jurisdiction to interpret section 183 of the constitution as prayed for by the petitioner. The notice from the tribunal: TAKE NOTICE THAT JUDGMENT IN PETITION NO:EPT/AK/GOV/1/2020 BETWEEN EYITAYO OLAYINKA JEGEDE &ANR AND INEC & 3ORS WHICH WAS EARLIER FIXED FOR 21st APRIL, 2021 HAS BEEN RE-SCHEDULE TO TOMORROW BEING 20TH APRIL, 2021 BY 10AM PROMPT THROUGH ZOOM. YOU CAN JOIN US THROUGH THE BELOW DETAILS. ID No: 7895674390. PASSWORD: blessing. PLEASE DRESS FORMALLY. THANKS. SECRETARY, ELECTION PETITION TRIBUNAL.

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