He who fails to plan, plans to fail as the saying goes. That is exactly the situation that best describes the Ogun State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in its perennial bid to return to the Oke Mosan Governor’s Office in Abeokuta after it was last occupied by the then controversial governor on the platform of the party.
Not a few people wondered during the campaign that the governorship candidate of the PDP, the loquacious Ladi Adebutu, who is now a fugitive abroad, was not only not campaigning, he was also abusing opponents, including the officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and our highly revered traditional rulers. There was a viral video where he abused the Obas in Yewa land for endorsing and praying for the re-election of Prince Dapo Abiodun for a second term as governor of Ogun State.
Actually, it was not that the PDP did not plan to win, but the party and its candidates planned to win by hook or crook. The PDP governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, took delivery of 200,000 (two hundred thousand) pieces of Verve ATM card from Zenith Bank that were preloaded with N10,000 each. That was about N2billion naira with which Adebutu wanted to purchase his way to the Oke Mosan governor’s office.
Forgetting that the Almighty God cannot be mocked, the people of Ogun State, most especially the discerning minds remained focussed and these voters stood their ground and refused to sell their votes. Ogun people voted for continuity and re-elected Dapo Abiodun for second term.
After the elections, which were widely adjudged to be free, fair and peaceful; reflecting the general wish of the majority of voters, the party that lost – the elections, PDP, and its candidates at the national, state assembly elections and governorship elections filed several petitions at various election petition tribunals in the state capital.
So far, the Ogun PDP has lost about 20 of its petitions against the ruling part, APC. All the eight petitions challenging the victories of the APC candidates at the federal constituencies were dismissed. Same for the two petitions against APC and Senators Shuaibu Salisu and Olamilekan Solomon for Ogun Central and Ogun West senatorial districts respectively.
For the House of Assembly elections which held same day as the governorship election, PDD has lost about nine of the petitions filed by the party and its defeated candidates so far.
The various petitions were dismissed at the tribunals on jurisdictional and substantive grounds based on several but familiar reasons by presiding judges, ranging from vagueness of the claims/grounds to failure of petitioners to prove their grounds. The petitions were also variously described as “frivolous, unmeritorious, and devoid of substance”, thereby solidifying the election and return of the APC’s candidates.
With these decisions, the perceived uncertainty as to the electoral victory of the APC has been put to rest and will remain so, unless any contrary decision is reached on appeal.
The position of the law is not as jaundiced or confused as the petitioners. Election petition is not about lies and unbridled emotions or sentiments . Petitioners are not only expected to prove their cases but to also prove all criminal allegations beyond reasonable doubt .
— Tunde Oladunjoye