By Kunle Adedoyin
The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Friday dismissed the petition filed against a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Mayowa Akinfolarin of the All Progressive Congress (APC) by Abayomi Akinfemiwa, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last National Assembly election.
The three-man tribunal headed by Justice Nuhu Adi found the petition to lacked merit and was struck it out as it upheld the election of Akinfolarin as House of Representatives member for Odigbo/Ile Oluji/ Oke Igbo Federal Constituency.
In arriving at its decision, the tribunal appraised the submissions of counsels of both the petitioner and the respondents and ruled that the testimony of the petitioner and some of his principal witnesses did not correspond with their statements on oath and as such the petition could not stand.
The tribunal also held that the onus lies on the petitioner to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt, even if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which was the third respondent in the suit, refused to call any witness.
The tribunal ruled that the petitioner failed to establish the allegation of over-voting in some polling units, non-accreditation and other forms of non-compliance to the 2010 electoral act as amended.
“The petitioner could not prove his allegation of malpractices and non-compliance to the electoral act during the election.”
Akinfolarin was declared winner of the February 23, 2019 House of Representatives election by INEC but not satisfied with the outcome of the election, Akinfemiwa filed a petition at the tribunal, to challenge the decision of the INEC alleging that the election was marred by irregularities and malpractices.