The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Ibadan on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by the Allied Peoples’ Movement against the March 18 victory of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.
The APM had challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission declaration of Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner after polling 563,756 votes.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other respondents in the matter are INEC and PDP.
The tribunal in its unanimous ruling read by its Chairman, Justice Ejiron Emudainohwo, dismissed the petition and awarded N1 million each as cost in favour of Makinde and PDP against APM.
Emudainohwo described the petition as frivolous, adding that it was scandalous for the petition to be filed 46 days after the party was aware their candidate was not interested in it.
She said cost must be awarded against the petitioner for wasting the time and resources of the respondents in filling their processes and for wasting the time of the tribunal.
Emudainohwo said being forced to settle the cost would serve as a deterrent for the petitioner.
Earlier, APM’s counsel, Mr Henry Bello, had informed the tribunal that he has applied for a withdrawal of the petition against Makinde.
Bello said the party’s candidate, Mr Adeniran Oluwaseyi who was supposed to be the beneficiary of the petition, had lost confidence in the petition and has gone on to congratulate Makinde.
He said the petitioner (the party) has nobody to occupy the position even if their petition had been upheld, and urged the court to strike out the petition.
Bello said the reason for filing the petition was because the party’s votes were not recorded in many polling units during the March 18 governorship election in the state.
He urged the court not to award any cost against the petitioner because they have committed resources in filing and prosecuting the petition.
“Withdrawing the petition is not because the petitioner is not willing to prosecute the matter, but it is as a result of the attitude of the party’s candidate who is not a party in the matter.”
Bello added that the conduct of the petitioner and its candidate was worthy of sympathy and commendation, urging the tribunal not to award any cost against the petitioner.
In his response, the INEC counsel, Mr Kizito Duru, said he was not opposed to the petition and would also not be asking for cost.
In his reaction, PDP’s counsel, Mr Isiaka Olagunju, said he was not opposed to the petition’s withdrawal and urged the tribunal to award a cost of N2 million against the petitioner.
Olagunju said his client was entitled to the cost because issues had been joined, pleadings completed, pre-hearing completed and their intention was to commence hearing when they received the withdrawal application.
He urged the tribunal to award the cost against the petitioner for wasting the time of both the tribunal and the respondents.
On his part, Makinde’s counsel, Mr Kunle Kalejaye, said he also got the withdrawal application the day the matter was slated for hearing but he was not opposed to it.
Kalejaye said the petition ought not to have been filed by the petitioner who scored 303 votes in the election against his client who polled 563,756 votes.
He urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition and award a punitive cost of N10 million against the petitioner to serve as a deterrent to others.