The Ondo State Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the election victory of Gboyega Adefarati, a member of the House of Representatives representing Akoko South East/Akoko Southwest. The three-member tribunal dismissed a petition filed by Kolawole Olugbenga, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the federal constituency during the February 25 election.
Olugbenga, through his legal representative, Tolu Babaleye, petitioned against Adefarati, INEC, and the All Progressives Congress (APC). He argued that the Federal High Court in Akure had nullified Adefarati’s primary election and directed INEC not to recognize the APC candidate at the time of the election, essentially asserting that APC had no valid candidate.
Justice Rose Soji, speaking on the petition, ruled that it lacked merit due to the Court of Appeal in Akure overturning the lower court’s verdict. Soji emphasized that the petitioner’s prayer would create judicial anarchy, characterizing it as a waste of the court’s time. The tribunal, in accordance with its constitutional duty, enforced the Court of Appeal judgment, leading to the striking out of the petition and an award of N150,000 against the petitioner in favor of the respondents.
Adefarati’s counsel, Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the petition, citing it as an infringement on the constitutional rights of the respondent. Oke highlighted that the Federal High Court judgment, on which the petitioner relied, was invalidated by the appellate court, making it inadmissible.
The Chairman of the APC in the state, Ade Adetimehin, hailed the judgment as a victory for democracy. He noted that the ruling demonstrated that the common citizen could still have hope in the country’s legal system. Adetimehin criticized the losing side for attempting to use technicalities to challenge the legitimately earned election victory achieved through hard work.