ABIODUN NEJO writes that a plea to SDP gubernatorial candidate Segun Oni in the June 2022 elections not to appeal the Electoral Court verdict that rejected his petition is raising a cloud of dust. .
Six months after finishing second in the Ekiti gubernatorial election, the Social Democrats are facing a silent split in the party against the presidential candidate they support and an electoral petition tribunal that validated the candidate’s victory in the All Progressive Party parliament. struggles to find footing in light of the decision of , Governor Biodun Oyebanji.
Some SDP members support People’s Democratic Party bannerman Atiku Abubakar, as evidenced by his participation in the PDP presidential election committee in Ekiti state, while others, who are members of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s Southwest Agenda, Members prefer APC candidate Bola Tinubu.
Some lawmakers also said that former SDP gubernatorial candidate Segun Oni in last year’s election will not appeal the court’s decision to dismiss his petition and that he will be invited to rejoin the APC. I am concerned that
hold on to hope
Oni and his supporters’ move to challenge the March 2022 gubernatorial election against the SDP and his candidacy to succeed then-governor Kayode Fayemi have become well-received by many in the state. This gave many in the state hopes for the party to elect a governor.
Many people across political parties believed the SDP would win the gubernatorial election. This was expected to be a close match between APC and SDP.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the APC the winner of the election because it had the most votes and complied with the law.
Social Democratic candidate Oni raised expectations among members as he approached the election petitions court, seeking to be declared the winner on the grounds of having the most valid votes.
SDP State Chair Dr. Bamidele Eknora and other party leaders assured party members and the public that the court would, on the strength of the evidence in court, declare the governor validly elected. .
However, in its December 29, 2022 ruling, the court said the SDP and its candidates failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the governor’s victory was contrary to the country’s constitution and electoral law. Having rejected the petition, he once again dashed his hopes. .
According to Judge Wilfred Kpochi, chairman of the three-member committee, “The allegations of misconduct in the June 18 poll are vague, vague and general, and provide ample evidence.” Candidates (respondents) are eligible to stand for election and INEC voted in a free and fair manner.
“We therefore reach the unavoidable conclusion that the complainants have failed to substantiate their case against the respondent, and hereby dismiss Oebanji’s petition for election as Governor of Ekiti.”
Opposition to Appeal
Ajayi, SDP and Oni’s lead attorney, was dissatisfied with the court’s ruling, saying:
“These people[APC and Oyebanji]should be minimally pleased because they find that most of the petitions to remove governors were made by the Supreme Court,” he said, referring to the cases of governors Zamfara and Bayelsa. I quoted
However, in response to the ogre attorney’s statement, a petition was sent to the SDP gubernatorial candidate asking him not to appeal the ruling, but to accept it in good faith, cooperate in the development of Ekiti, and even return to the APC. I was.
Governor Oebanji responded, saying that the ruling that reaffirmed his election was for the glory of God and the interests of the people of Ekiti, and hailed Oni for challenging the election process in court and will is within his rights, he added.
“Engr Oni continues to be the leader of this state and I have and will continue to have the utmost respect for him,” the governor said. I urged him to accept defeat.
“The door to our party is open to many who wish to join us. We are waiting patiently to receive Engr. Oni and his men are back at the APC. Here they are!” We need you to join us in our efforts to make Ekiti more prosperous.
“I see this as a contest and hereby call Engr. A demon who will join hands with me to develop the country. So I will work with him so that we can work together.” said the governor.
In addition, former governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who congratulated Oevanji on his court victory, urged the opposition to put down their swords.
The former governor said in a statement from Faemi, head of the media office in Abuja: Our political affiliations may differ, but we are all Ekiti people and should work together for our country.
“We hope this court decision will put an end to further litigation regarding the gubernatorial election and allow the governor and his team to focus on their true mission of providing developmental solutions to the people.”
The state’s monarchs, under the auspices of the Ekiti National Rulers’ Council, called on the ogre to shelve the continuation of the electoral proceedings, stating that “with this ruling all political gladiators across political parties must sheathe their swords.” and cooperate with the governor for the development of Ekiti province.”
In a statement entitled “Ekiti Obas congratulate Oyebanji, appealing to the challengers to accept the verdict in good faith,” Oba Ayodele Adejuwon, Chairman of the Monarchy and Onisan of Isan Ekiti, said: And confirmed the majority decision of his Ekiti people who voted overwhelmingly for governor in June.
“The council also pleads with the victims to postpone the results of the gubernatorial election and accept in good faith the electoral decision of the people of Ekiti, as today’s losers could be tomorrow’s winners. , it is the Council’s considered opinion that there is always another time.”
Prince Michael Ogungbemi, chairman of the Ajoni Local Council Development Area, said the court’s ruling further legitimized the legality of the primary and Oyebanji’s victory in the election, telling the SDP that it would “sincerely accept the results of the polls and I urged him to join the team,” he said. Together with the current administration to develop the nation. ”
San Olawale Fapohunda, a former AG of Ekiti State and one of the attorneys for APC and Oyebanji, also said that now that the court has ruled, it is time for the parties to work together to move the state forward.
Fapohunda said: Now is the time to look away from the courts and focus on what people really want: good governance. I am confident that soon the governor will also be able to reach out to Mr. Segun Oni to better meet the needs of the people.
But Jackson Adebayo, director of media for the SDP’s Segun Oni Campaign Organization, said the plea to the principal not to appeal was done out of fear that the High Court would overturn the court’s ruling. said it was. justice. ”
Adebayo, who said he would “appeal,” said Goblin’s reaction to the court’s ruling was “not over until it’s over.”
He said, “Given the content of our case, they are begging us not to appeal the verdict because we fear losing it in high court. Have you ever heard someone ask you not to go ahead and seek justice?
“They know that the High Court does the right thing and corrects the wrongs that the court has made. Miscarriages are conspicuous and the High Court will not condone them.”
SDP Public Relations Secretary Gani Salau said those opposing the appeal were wasting their time. Our position is to be attractive.
“Fayemi had been in court against Oni for three-and-a-half years before becoming governor, so how could he avoid appealing a lawsuit the court declared was a constitutional matter? Can I advise? This issue is best decided by a High Court, especially the Supreme Court.
they are nervous. They are also imploring us to persuade the Oni Governor not to appeal. We are very hopeful and look forward to a victory in the Superior Court. ”
Oni’s attorney, Ajayi, said: That kind of thing never worked. The brief the Social Democratic candidate gave me was to proceed with the appeal in the Court of Appeals, and I am already working on that. ”
Ajayi, who satirized Faimi by begging Oni to appeal the court’s ruling, asked: Did he heed the advice? Fayemi is not qualified to advise Oni about it.
Fayemi appeared in court and fought to the very end until Gov. Oni was dismissed. Regarding this matter as well, the demons will fight until the last minute until Governor Oebanji is dismissed.
“They are making overtures because they know the court’s judgment cannot be expanded in the Supreme Court. How can Yobe Governor Mai Mala Buni’s certificate be so easily dismissed as chairman of the Supreme Court? The Supreme Court will see all of this.”
Regarding Oni’s invitation to rejoin APC, Ajayi said: Oebanji knows he doesn’t mean it. The APC people will not tolerate anyone joining them, the demon was in his APC and they kicked him out. He knows that if he returns there, he will be thrown out again. ”