The Ekiti state national assembly election petition tribunal has sacked Dayo Adeyeye, senator representing Ekiti south.
In a unanimous verdict on Tuesday, the tribunal declared Biodun Olujimi, former minority leader and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the February 23 senatorial poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Adeyeye, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election but Olujimi filed an appeal at the tribunal.
In her appeal, she had submitted that she scored the highest number of lawful votes cast during the election and prayed the tribunal to declare her as winner.
In the alternative, she had prayed the tribunal to nullify Adeyeye’s victory.
The petitioner claimed that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the electoral act, having been “fraught with irregularities”.
The petitioner also accused INEC of dereliction of duty, saying most of the documents used for the election were not duly signed by agents.
However, the respondents countered the submission, saying INEC did what was right and constitutional by declaring the candidate of the APC the winner, having found to have got the highest number of lawful votes.
Delivering the judgement, the three -man tribunal led by D.D. Adeck nullified elections in some polling units to declare Olujimi the authentic winner of the polls.
Adeck added that apart from the nullification in some units, the outcome of the tribunal’s verdict was predicated on the recount of the ballots as granted by the court.
He said the petitioner had been able to prove cases of criminal allegations of non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral act and other corrupt practices beyond reasonable doubt.
The tribunal said in Ikere, Gbonyin and Emure local governments, the petitioner was able to prove cases of over voting and votes in those units were expunged from the ballots.
“It is not tenable to say that marked ballot papers were not properly deposited in the boxes, because when this happens, then it will lead to over voting and will affect counting at every level of collation,” Adeck said.
“To avoid this pitfall, those elections must be expunged in order not to vitiate the electoral process. Therefore, after those votes were deducted, the PDP was left with 54, 894 while the respondent polled 52, 243.
“The petitioner, having polled the highest number of lawful votes, should be declared the winner of the election.
“We hereby declare the petitioner the winner and she is hereby returned elected.
“We hereby direct INEC to withdraw the certificate of return from the respondent and issue same to the petitioner. “