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Appeal Court Affirms Oyebanji As Ekiti Governor



The Court of Appeal sitting in Ado-Ekiti has affirmed Ekiti Governor Biodun Oyebanji as the authentic winner of the June 18, 2022 governorship election in the State.

In the judgement read by Justice Barka, the three-member panel of the Appellate Court upheld the judgement of the lower court and dismissed the appeal filed by the candidate of The Social Democratic Party (SDP) Segun Oni for lacking in merit.

The election petition tribunal in December struck out Oni’s petition for lacking in merit but the SDP candidate approached the appellate court to challenge the verdict of the tribunal.

In the judgement delivered virtually, the Justice Barka-led panel of judges ruled that Oyebanji and his deputy, (Chief) Mrs Monisade Afuye were duly elected and returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission having scored the highest number of lawful votes.

The Court ruled that Oni failed to prove his case beyond any reasonable doubt, adding the appellant was unable to prove allegations of vote buying and electoral malpractices with verifiable evidence.

On the appeal challenging the nomination of the Governor, the court said Oyebanji was validly nominated as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) via an election conducted under a peaceful atmosphere.

It held that the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC National Caretaker panel that conducted the primaries that produced Oyebanji was in line with the constitution of the party and it was an internal issue not to be contested by another party.

On the petition challenging the authenticity of Afuye’s certificate, the court ruled that the move was a plan by the appellant to circumvent the extant rules of law as the respondents presented a valid certificate to the electoral body.

It added that the appellant failed to prove allegations of certificate forgery against the deputy governor to a convincing level as it fails to present clear evidence to substantiate the allegation.

Oni expressed satisfaction with the judgement, declaring it would be challenged at the Supreme Court.

Oni, speaking through, one of his aides, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, shortly after the judgement said he would exhaust every available judicial means to retrieve his mandate.

He noted that the appellate court failed to look into the issues presented before it but expressed optimism of a favourable judgement at the Supreme Court.

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