From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The Ondo State governorship election petitions tribunal will hold its inaugural sitting in Akure, the state capital, on Tuesday, December 8.
Justice Umar Abubakar, leading two other justices, will hear the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Eyitayo Jegede, against Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who was declared the winner of the October 10 governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal was 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 had sued Akeredolu to challenge alleged anomalies in the governorship election.
Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu is leading a team of legal luminaries to prosecute the legal fireworks.
The grounds of the petition include ‘that Rotimi Akeredolu was not validly nominated by his party, the 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) can not serve as the National Chairman of APC at the same time to nominate Akeredolu as candidate of their party for Ondo election.
‘Section 183 states that “The Governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.”
‘Article 17, section 1V of the APC Constitution also provides that, any official of the party cannot simultaneously occupy any other executive office in government.
‘The election was marred with violence in some Local Government Areas as well as over voting in other areas.’
Jegede is asking the tribunal to declare him the validly elected governor of Ondo State.
Jegede insisted that Akeredolu was not validly nominated and as such APC had no candidate for the Ondo State governorship election.