Ajimobi vs Balogun: Appeal Court reserves judgment

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Governor Ajimobi

The Court of Appeal in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday reserved judgment in an appeal by Sen. Abiola Ajimobi challenging the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal on the February 23 National Assembly Election for Oyo South.

The Election Petition Tribunal had upheld the victory of Sen. Kola Balogun (Oyo South) in the National Assembly election.

The Justice Haruna Samani-led three-man panel, which has Justices Okoronkwo and Ojo as members, told counsel to both the appellants and respondents that judgment date would be communicated to them at a later date.

The panel of justices reserved judgment after the adoption of the written addresses of the appellants, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Ajimobi, whose legal team was led by Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), and the respondents: the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sen. Kola Balogun and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Olujimi in his submission had challenged the qualification of Balogun to participate in the February 23 election on the ground that he did not participate in the PDP primary election, but was selected.

He further argued that the National Assembly Election Tribunal did not properly evaluate the evidence brought before it before delivering judgment in the petition.

However, counsel to INEC, Balogun and PDP, respectively, refuted the claim by the appellants, stressing that the tribunal, through due diligence, examined all evidence tendered before it.

They added that the issue raised on the primary election of PDP lacked merit, as being proposed by the appellant as the basis for nullifying the candidature of Balogun, the second respondent.

The result of the February 23 election as declared by INEC, indicated that Balogun defeated his closest rival, Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress, with a vote difference of 13,502.

The PDP candidate ended the contest with a total of 105,720 votes, while the candidate of the APC, Ajimobi had 92,217 votes.