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Tribunal affirms Tinubu’s election Lagos Central senator

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The National Assembly and State Houses Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Ikeja on Monday, affirmed the election of Oluremi Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the senator for Lagos Central Senatorial District.

Delivering judgment, the three-member tribunal led by Justice Kunaza Hamidu, held that the petition filed by Adesunbo Onitiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election of Mrs Tinubu failed as it did not establish any prima facie case against her.

“The petition lacked merit and is hereby dismissed.

“The declaration of Sen. Oluremi Tinubu by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) as winner of Feb. 23 National Assembly election is hereby affirmed,” the tribunal declared.

Mr Onitiri had dragged Mr Tinubu and INEC before the Tribunal, challenging the result of the Lagos Central Senatorial District election over alleged irregularities.

Respondents in the case are the APC and INEC.

Mr Onitiri had alleged that INEC wrongly declared Mrs Tinubu winner of the polls with 131,725 votes, while he was said to have scored 89,107 votes.

He claimed that INEC ought to have declared him winner of the election instead of Mrs Tinubu, claiming that he scored the highest lawful votes cast at the election.

In a petition filed before the tribunal, Mr Onitiri’s counsel, Onome Akpeneye, alleged that the results declared by INEC was fraught with vote-buying, violence, over-voting, inducement of voters with monetary and material gains, campaigning and lobbying voters, on the day of election.

Other irregularities he stated in his petition, included: non-accreditation and improper accreditation of voters by INEC officials, intimidation and arrest of his supporters and poll agents, as well as instigation of electoral violence by agents of first respondent.

Mr Onitiri also alleged that apart from the listed irregularities, there were irreconcilable entries in the result declared and the number of votes recorded in favour of Mrs Tinubu by INEC in forms EC8A and EC8B respectively.

“The final result was signed only by the agent of APC and the Senatorial INEC Returning officer in an unknown location.” he added.

But in their defence, Mrs Tinubu, APC and INEC through their counsel, Ezekiel Ashade and Busayo Onabanjo, denied all allegations contained in the petition describing them as unfounded fabrications.

They insisted that Mr Tinubu scored the highest lawful votes cast at the election and urged the tribunal to dismiss Mr Onitiri’s petition with substantial costs.

During trial, Mr Ashade filed two applications on behalf of Mrs Tinubu and APC while Onabanjo filed one application for INEC in which they objected to certain paragraphs in the petition and urged the tribunal to strike them out as they were vague and lacked substance.

The tribunal granted the prayer of the respondents and struck out the ‘offensive’ paragraph.

The tribunal held that the petitioner failed to substantiate and give particulars of all allegations raised against the election of Mrs Tinubu.

The tribunal declared that the National Assembly elections from which Mrs Tinubu emerged winner was held in accordance with the electoral act and other relevant laws.

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