By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division has upheld the victory of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorship election held in Ekiti State. In a unanimous judgment, the three-man panel of the court dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Kolapo Olusola, for lacking in merit.
The court upheld the January 28, 2019 judgment of the Ekiti election tribunal, which sat in Abuja. Reading the judgement, Stephen Adah, resolved all the seven issues raised against the appellants in favour of Fayemi, INEC and APC. Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson and Emmanuel Agim, both judges, agreed with the lead judgment delivered by Adah. The three-man panel entered the courtroom at about 7:00pm on Thursday but started delivering the judgment at about 7.14pm.
Alex Akojah, the lawyer who led the petitioners’ team to court on Thursday, told journalists after the judgment was delivered that the legal team would need to be informed by their clients on whether or not they would appeal against the judgment to the Supreme Court. Fayemi polled a total of 197,459 votes to defeat Olusola, who placed second with 178,121 votes in the July 14, 2018 election. Dissatisfied with the outcome, PDP and Olusola had filed their petition before the Ekiti State election petition tribunal.
The petitioners alleged, among others in their petition, that the election was marred by a lot of irregularities, including non-compliance with the Electoral Act. But the tribunal on January 28, 2019 dismissed their petition and affirmed the results declared by INEC. The petitioners further appealed to the Court of Appeal, raising seven issues.