Ekiti Tribunal: Fayemi Closes Defence...Sitting Adjourned till January 9



Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Thursday closed his defence before the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Apo, Abuja.

This is even as the tribunal adjourned its sitting till January 9, 2019 for adoption of final written addresses of parties in the petition.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the July 14 governorship election in contention, Professor Olusola Kolapo Olubunmi, filed the petition before the tribunal, challenging the declaration of Governor Fayemi as the winner.

The petitioners had alleged that victory of Governor Fayemi was as a result of vote buying, wide spread rigging, malpractices and that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials favoured the governor during the election.

They, therefore, prayed the tribunal to declare them as winners of the election on the ground that they scored majority of the lawful votes.

Joined as respondents in the petition with the number, EPT/ EKS/GOV/01/18, are INEC, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Fayemi.

At Thursday's  sitting, counsel for the Governor, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, informed the three-man tribunal that the third respondent was closing his case.

The Senior Advocate stated that having reviewed the case, the third respondent found it unnecessary to call any further witnesses to prove his case.

The Governor called four witnesses, including Adumo Rufus Sunday, who was the Deputy Director-General of JKF Campaign Organisation, to testify for him before the tribunal, headed by Justice Suleiman Belgore. He did not tender any exhibits.

While testifying on Monday, Adunmo told the tribunal that contrary to the allegations of bias, violence, vote buying and general malpractices by the petitioners, the election was devoid of rancour and violence.

He insisted that INEC officials were not biased against any parties during the election, saying that the July 14 election was credible without any bias.

The JKF Campaign deputy DG told the tribunal that, "I will say anyone who says the election was not free and fair is day dreaming."

The other witnesses also maintained that the election was free, fair and credible, adding that INEC did not favour APC and Governor Fayemi to win the election.

It could be recalled that The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had also responded to the charge that it was bias during the election.

INEC who was one respondents, however in its defence, insisted that the election was free, fair and not bias.

Meanwhile, following the closure of the third respondent's defence, parties agreed that the three respondents shall have three days to file their respective final written addresses, while petitioners shall have five days to file theirs.

It was further agreed that the respondents shall have another three days to reply on point of law.

While adjourning sitting till January 9, 2018 for adoption of final written addresses, Justice Belgore expressed appreciation of the tribunal to all parties involved in the petition for their cooperation.

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