Appeal Court dismisses petition against Ondo PDP senator

The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure Monday dismissed the petition of the United People’s Congress Party (UPCP) that had sought the nullification of the victory of Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, representing Ondo South senatorial district.

The party had appealed the initial court verdict of the Federal High Court in Akure delivered on July 5, 2019. The court had dismissed the application filed by the candidate of Action Alliance (AA), Mr Olatunji Felder.

The petitioner had prayed the court to nullify the victory of the senator over the conduct of supplementary election of March 9, 2019 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ondo South, on the ground that the electoral umpire did not write officially to inform necessary parties before embarking on the said rerun election.

In a unanimous judgement delivered by the trio of Justices M A Danjuma, R M Abdullahi and P A Mahmood, the Court of Appeal, dismissed the petition of the UPCP for lack of merit. The court also awarded the sum of N300,000 cost against the UPCP.

Tofowomo had polled 79,036 to defeat his closest rival, the incumbent Senator, Yele Omogunwa of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 51,993, while Felder of the AA came third.

The poll was, however, declared inconclusive because the victory margin was less than the total votes cancelled in 56 polling units of four councils estimated at 28, 300 votes, which necessitated the supplementary election by INEC.

After the supplementary election, INEC Returning Officer for the district, Prof Kayode Onifade, declared Tofowomo winner with 81,892 votes against Omogunwa’s 55,610 and Felder with 27,150 votes.

The two defence counsels A.A Ojopagogo and A Kuku, to Tofowomo and INEC respectively, described the judgment as victory for democracy.

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