Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have filed a motion of notice before the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, challenging a petition brought before it by Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP).
The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice Henry Olusiyi, began its sitting at the premises of the Ogun State High Court, Isabo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Tuesday.
The MPPP, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last election, Gboyega N. Isiaka, had filled separate petitions challenging the outcome of the last governorship election which returned Governor Amosun elected.
While the MPPP in its petition asked the court to cancel the whole election, alleging that its candidate’s name and party were omitted from the ballot paper, the PDP and Isiaka said Governor Amosun did not win lawful votes to have returned him elected.
The PDP and Isiaka’s petition could not begin, after the counsel to the 3rd to 128th respondents, Olushina Sofola, told the tribunal that his clients had not filled their responses because they were still within 21 days recognised by law, within which to file their responses.
Mr Sofola said his clients were served on the May 5 and had until the close of work on Monday, to file their responses.
Application seeking the extension of time for the respondents to file their responses was, however, struck out by the tribunal.
Although, the tribunal has not fixed a date for the hearing of the petitions, the lead counsels to Amosun and APC, Fagbemi Lateef and George Oyeniyi, told the tribunal that a motion on notice, requesting the tribunal to strike out the petition of MPPP had been filled.
According to the motion signed by one Azeez Soboyejo, dated May 13, a copy of which was obtained by Channels Television’s correspondent, the petitioner sought for an order dismissing and/or striking out the petition for being statute barred, having been filed outside the mandatory statutory period of 21 days after the declaration of the election result.
This, according to the motion, was contrary to section 134(1) Electoral Act No 64, 2010 (as amended) and section 285(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Citing grounds for the application, both APC and Governor Amosun said the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain and determine the petition, as the court had failed to disclose any reasonable cause for action.
The application also stated that the petition was filed in gross violation of the provisions of section 134(1) of the, Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
It however, asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition “for reasons that same is frivolous, speculative, gold-digging, and unmeritorious, with substantial cost”.