From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Ondo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has struck out the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 10 governorship election in the state, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, against the re-election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP and its candidate had challenged the victory of Akeredolu in the governorship election and sought for an order of the Tribunal to cancel the results of the election.
Both the PDP and Jegede also asked the Tribunal to declare the PDP candidate winner of the election
The Tribunal, declaring its ruling via Zoom on Tuesday, said the petition lacks merit.
In the two-hour judgment, Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Abubakar Umar, struck out Jegede’s petition for lack of jurisdiction.
The Tribunal held that ‘issues raised therein in this petition are settled issue of internal affairs and management of a political party which this Tribunal has no jurisdiction.’
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has hailed the Tribunal judgment, describing it as victory for the people of the state.
The party in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Alex Kalejaiye, congratulated Governor Akeredolu, his running mate, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa, and all the teeming supporters of APC in the state.
The party commends the Tribunal for being dispassionate and objective in considering all the arguments and counter-arguments assembled before it while the trial lasted.
The party further appreciated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for sticking to what is constitutional, fair and reasonable.
The party wondered how a candidate who scored three out of 18 in an examination could expect to be declared winner, adding that ‘the PDP wanted victory through the backdoor.’
It advised the main opposition party to accept the judgment in good faith and put its house in order as it prepares for future elections.