Sack Abiodun for using fake documents, APM candidate tells tribunal

The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) governorship candidate in Ogun state, Adekunle Akinlade, Tuesday asked the Ogun state Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to sack Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for allegedly using “fake documents” to contest the March 9, 2019 governorship election. 

The candidate also accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of aiding and abetting the governor to breach the electoral guidelines on qualification of a candidate.

Akinlade through his lead counsel, Mike Osuman prayed the tribunal to sack Governor Abiodun for allegedly committing falsehood in the forms submitted to INEC during the election. 

Akinlade and his party had filed a petition marked EPT/OG/GOV/01/19 on grounds of alleged over-voting and lack of Governor Abiodun’s qualification to contest the election in which he was declared winner by INEC.

Osuman adopted Akinlade’s final written address before Justice Yusuf Halilu-led panel, praying the tribunal to disqualify Abiodun as a candidate in the March 9 poll, invalidate his victory and return him (Akinlade) in his stead as the governor.

Osuman submitted that the governor was committed “illegality and falsehood” by submitting contradictory certificates variously to the INEC when he contested for Senate in 2015 and later governorship in 2019.

Osuman maintained that Abiodun’s CF001 of 2015 and that of 2019 marked as exhibit 331 and 331A by the tribunal were characterised by inconsistency, smacked falsehood thereby falling short of a person occupying office of the governor.

According to him, the petitioner was not contesting the qualification of the governor but rather the alleged falsehood committed during submission of CF001 to INEC at different times. 

“On grounds of public policy, he must not be allowed to benefit from his illegality or wrongdoing. The second respondent (Abiodun) authored and sworn to exhibit 331 and 331A. The content, if juxtaposed, showed there was falsehood.

He said the petitioners’ evidences given by the witnesses before the tribunal in respect of the allegations were genuine and admissible. 

In his submission, Abiodun’s lead counsel, Prof Taiwo Osipitan described the APM’s petition as dead on arrival and urged the tribunal to dismiss it.

He submitted that the issue bordering Abiodun’s certificates was a pre-election matter which has already been determined by the court.

Osipitan, who described evidences given by 39 witnesses called by the petitioners as “hearsay, battered and tattered”, added that they failed to prove alleged over-voting in about 142 polling units cited. 

Also in the submissions, counsel to APC and the INEC, AJ Owonikoko and Teslim Adewuyi equally asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying the petitioner failed to prove alleged substantial non-compliance during the election.

The tribunal chairman promised to communicate the notice of the judgment to the legal teams in due course.

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