Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal dismisses LP application to relist its petition

By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governorship Election Tribunal, sitting in Abeokuta, the State capital on Saturday dismissed an application filed by a faction of Labour Party (LP) to relist its petition.
The Tribunal on Friday, June 21 dismissed the petition challenging the election of Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC)  following the absence of petitioner’s lawyers at sitting.
The petition marked EPT/OG/GOV/03/2019 and filed by Comrade Abayomi Arabambi -led LP faction had challenged alleged unlawful exclusion of the party’s logo on ballot papers used in March 9 election won by Abiodun.
But on Friday, the LP Counsel, Hassan Balogun filed an application before the Tribunal, seeking the panel’s discretion to relist the petition “in line with Federal High Court rules in the interest of justice.”
But Abiodun’s lead Counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) opposed the relisting of the petition, arguing that the case had been buried with the Tribunal verdict, asking LP to go to the Court to Appeal if need be to appeal against the judgment.
Ruling on the application on Saturday, Justice Yusuf Halilu – led panel dismissed the application, saying the Tribunal lacks the power to reverse itself on a case it had dismissed.
Halilu who read the ruling relied on paragraph 46 (3) first schedule of the Electoral Act, saying the next step for the applicants after dismissal of the petition was to proceed on appeal at the Court of Appeal.
According to him, the application smacks desperate move by the petitioners to return their case to the panel having realised their “irredeemable” mistake.
The panel held that the reasons given for absence of the petitioner’s counsel at the June 12 sitting, other than alleged insecurity, was not substantial.
Halilu likened the LP application to a case of a cancer patient who had allowed the virus eaten deep into his body before rushing to the hospital to seek medical attention.
“The application is doomed. It has failed in its entirety and is hereby dismissed,” he held.
The panel, however,  failed to award cost the petitioner, saying it would amount to “compounding their woes.”
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