The legal fireworks over the result of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State won by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu will begin on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure, the state capital.
Eyitayo Jegede, the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had filed a petitioned against Akeredolu, who was declared winner of the October 10, 2020 Election by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, at the tribunal headed by Justice Umar Abubakar.
Abubakar would lead two other judges to hear the petition filed by Jegede as from tomorrow, December 8. Election Tribunals are established pursuant to section 285 of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as Amended) and section 133 of the Electoral Act 2011 (as Amended) to address disputes arising from Elections.
Jegede through his lead counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN had dragged the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Governor Akeredolu before the tribunal to answer for alleged infractions against the laws of the land. One of the grounds of the petition is that Akeredolu was not validly nominated by his party APC.
By the provisions of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, a serving Governor of a State (in this case, Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni) cannot serve as the National Chairman of APC at the same time to nominate Akeredolu as candidate of their party for the Ondo Elections. Section 183 states “The Governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever”.
Jegede is saying that “Akeredolu was not validly nominated and as such APC had no candidate for the Ondo Election.
He added that “Article 17 section iv of the APC Constitution also provides that, any official of the party cannot simultaneously occupy any other executive office in government. ”
It states further that “No officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position office in government concurrently”. Again Buni ran foul of this provision.
Jegede also posited that ” the Election was marred with violence in some Local Governments as well as over voting in other areas.