Re-run election at Ajeromi-Ifelodun was marred by violence, malpractices’ witnesses tell tribunal
Three witnesses, yesterday, told election tribunal sitting at Ikeja that the re-run election held on April 27. 2019 to elect House of Representative member for Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Lagos State was marred by violence and electoral malpractices.
The witnesses, Igwe Chukwuma, Edward Brown and Seyijimi, while testifying differently at the proceeding, said that non-indigenes and non -APC members were chased away from the polling units, including a police officer who was threatened that his uniform could be removed if he intervened.
Hon. Rita Orji and Peoples Democratic Party are the petitioners while Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Hon. Kolawole Taiwo are the respondents. The petitioners were represented by Tochukwu Nweke while Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Pedro Lawan and George Ibrahim represented the respondents.
The respondents’ counsels’ objections to some of the documents tendered by the witnesses, including: Written Statements, Party Agent Identity Cards and Election Result sheets, were overruled by the three man Tribunal chaired by Kunaza N. Hamidu.
However, the learned silk quipped that his objections and arguments will be contained in his written address.
Earlier, INEC had declared the February 23 House of Representatives election in the constituency, inconclusive, giving over-voting, non-compliance with the usage of smart card readers and violence as reasons.
The petitioners’ alleged that Hon. Orji won the election of February 23, 2019 and that INEC illegally cancelled the results of the election in 71 polling units. The claim that only the court could cancel the results of an election; adding that if the cancelled results are restored, the PDP would win.
Based on that ground, the Federal High Court, Abuja presided over by Justice Bello Kawu ordered the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to declare collated results of Ajeromi-Ifelodun Constituency as well as pay N250, 000 to Orji. INEC declared the results but did not pronounce any winner.
Rather, the INEC later conducted supplementary election in 71 polling units across eight wards and declared the All Progressives Congress candidate, Mr Kolawole Taiwo, winner of Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Lagos State for the House of Representatives seat. The supplementary election is what the witnesses said was marred by violence and malpractices.
Prof. Olusoji Ilori, the Returning Officer for the elections, announced that Taiwo polled a total of 36,115 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Mrs Rita Orji, who got 32,557 votes.
Ilori added that Mr Matin Iwonlaye of Accord Party had 587 votes, Mr Jimoh Rasheed of PPN got 206 votes, Mr David Kola of AD polled 158 votes, Mr Michael Ogoeke of APP polled 149 votes while Ms Julie King of APDA polled 112 votes.
According to him, Mr Adebayo Adegbenro of ADC scored 107 votes, Mr Kennedy Nzemiro of PPC had 90 votes, Mr Morenikeji Oluwole of MPN had 39 votes, Mr Jacob Ogundiran of DPC scored 17 votes while Ms Victoria Oladipupo of DA, polled 06 votes.
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