• Verdict is victory for Ogun people, says gov •Isiaka: we’re studying verdict

After 180 days and five hours of sitting, including the four hours and few minutes spent in reading its judgment, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, yesterday  affirmed  Governor Ibikunle Amosun as the duly elected governor of the state  in the April 11, 2015 poll.

Delivering the judgement amid tight security mounted within and outside the court premises by armed policemen, operatives of the Department of the State Security Service (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Henry Olusiyi, said the Petitioner “failed to prove his case against the respondent(Ibikunle Amosun).”

He therefore dismissed it for lacking merit, saying there was a “yawning and unbridgeable gap between the allegations against the first respondent(Amosun) and evidenced adduced(by the petitioner) to prove them.”

Continuing, he held further that the petitioner had also failed to satisfy the tribunal on why it should grant his prayers, adding that all the reliefs sought are therefore resolved in the negative against the petitioner as the “petition lacked merit and is accordingly dismissed.”

The tribunal therefore affirmed that the respondent, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was the duly elected governor in the April 11, 2015 governorship election conducted in Ogun state.

The petitioner had sought among other things a court  declaration that he was the valid and duly elected governor in the governorship poll.

The petition was filed by the governorship candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Gboyega Isiaka, and his party; PDP, against Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the  All Progressives Congress(APC).

Isiaka had premised his case against Amosun’s election on nine grounds.

But all the nine grounds were refuted stoutly during the trial by Amosun through his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi(SAN). The tribunal, yesterday, delivered its judgement in favour of Governor Amosun with no cost awarded to Gboyega Isiaka and his party – PDP.

Reacting to the judgement which triggered wide jubilation in Abeokuta by supporters and members of the APC,  an elated Amosun said the tribunal’s  verdict was a victory for the good people of Ogun State.

Governor Amosun in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant (Media), Adejuwon Soyinka, noted that the verdict of the tribunal affirming his victory at the poll and  the legal victory were further attestation of the fact that his election was only truly made possible by the good people of Ogun State.

According to him, if the trial were to be conducted twenty times over, he and the All Progressives Congress(APC) would come out victorious because he was voted for massively by the people of Ogun State.

He also hailed the judiciary and indeed members of the Justice Henry Olusiyi-led panel for the professional manner they carried out their duties without fear or favour.

The governor however used the moment to also reiterate  that the ongoing, vital and all – important mission to rebuild Ogun State “is a task that should be embraced by all patriotic citizens of Ogun irrespective of political and ideological differences.”

In his reaction, the petitioner, Prince Gboyega Isiaka  appealed to his teeming supporters to remain calm and not engage in any act that could breach the peace in the state.

Isiaka said: “I am appealing to all and sundry to respect the decision of the court. Though the verdict did not go the way that would have gladdened the heart of many people in the state, but as law abiding and responsible citizens, we are duty bound to respect the verdict.

“We shall carefully study the judgment as soon as possible and will make public our next line of action. But my appeal goes to all our supporters and those that might have been disappointed with the judgment to remain calm.  We still have many options available to us but that decision will be made very soon.”