The Ekiti Election Tribunal has nullified the election of APC’ Senator Dayo Adeyeye and declared PDP’s candidate and former Senator, Biodun Olujimi, winner of the February 23 National Assembly election for Ekiti South Senatorial District.
The tribunal in a unanimous verdict granted Olujimi’s wish in her petition where she said she should be declared the actual winner of the election.
Olujimi, former Minority Leader of the senate, had submitted in her petition that she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast during the keenly contested election.
She claimed that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, alleging that it was fraught with all manners of irregularities.
She prayed the tribunal to annul votes in areas that were found to be incredibly marked with irregularities like over voting, multiple thump printing, ballot snatching, ballot stuffing and improper ballot counting to know the actual winner of the poll.
Olujimi also accused the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) of dereliction of duties, saying most of the documents used for the conduct of the election were not duly signed by agents.
But the respondents countered the submission, saying INEC did what was right and constitutional, by declaring the candidate of the APC the winner having found him to have got the highest number of lawful votes.
Delivering the judgment, the three-man tribunal, led by Justice D.D. Adeck, nullified elections in some polling units to declare Olujimi the authentic winner of the polls.
Eventually, Olujimi polled a total of 54,894 to emerge victorious over the Senate Committee Chairman on Media and Publicity, who polled 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 for the petitioner to be so declared, she must prove those cases of criminal allegations of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and other corrupt practices raised in her petition beyond reasonable doubt which he said she did.
The tribunal said in Ikere, Gbonyin and Emure Local Governments, the petitioner was able to prove cases of over voting and votes in those units were expunged from the ballot.
On the voting patterns, Justice Adeck said: “It is not tenable to say that marked ballots were not properly deposited in the boxes because when this did not happen, then it will lead to over voting and will affect counting at every level of collation.
“To avoid this pitfall, those elections must be expunged in order not to vitiate the electoral process. Therefore, after those votes were deducted, PDP was left with 54,894, while the respondent polled 52,243.
“The petitioner having polled the highest number of lawful votes should be declared the winner of the election.
“We hereby declare the petitioner the winner and she is hereby returned elected.
“We hereby direct the INEC to withdraw the certificate of return from the respondent and issue same to the petitioner”, he said .