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Dapo Abiodun’s Precarious Position: Can He Withstand The Storm At Ogun State Governorship Tribunal?



In the aftermath of the March 18 Ogun State gubernatorial election, a storm of controversy has engulfed the political landscape as Dapo Abiodunfaces a formidable challenge from PDP’s Ladi Adebutu in the Election Petition Tribunal.

With allegations ranging from election irregularities to certificate forgery, the tides may be turning against Abiodun, writes Seunmanuel Faleye.

With the unfolding proceedings of the tribunal, the pressing question on everyone’s lips is whether Abiodun can successfully get away with all the allegationsof illegality leveled against him, and seal his place for the second term as the Governor of Ogun State.

Alternatively, could Ladi Adebutu from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, step into the limelight, and be returned elected as substantive Governor of Ogun State?
An Abundance of Evidence

A staggering collection of over 8,000 documents was being unveiled as exhibits by Ladi Adebutu, the candidate from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The crux of their petition is that Dapo Abiodun’s triumph was marred by instances of non-compliance with the Electoral Act and alleged electoral misconduct.

These exhibits, encompassing INEC forms, ECAs, voters’ registers, and printed IREV results, are poised to illuminate the alleged irregularities that have cast a shadow over the authenticity of the election.

However, the drama unfolds not just on the content of these exhibits but also in the courtroom theatrics. Counsel to the respondents initially questioned the timing and procedural nuances of the petitioner Ladi Adebutu’s evidence presentation, which set the stage for a legal duel.

In recent weeks, the courtroom has transformed into an arena for intellectual jousting, with legal representatives from both sides clashing ferociously over the veracity of the exhibits and beyond.

The spectacle reaches its zenith when a PDP witness introduces video evidence depicting purported disruptions at polling stations during the election.

Villamond Investment: Crown Ville Estate

Villamond Investment: Crown Ville Estate

This visual testimony triggers vehement debates among the counsels, with the respondents registering objections to its admissibility. While the petitioners ardently advocate for the evidence’s inclusion for further scrutiny, the respondents counter that the video qualifies as hearsay and is inherently unreliable.

The tribunal retains the power to determine the fate of this contested evidence, intensifying the suspense surrounding this unfolding legal spectacle.

Margin of Victory and Electoral Integrity

The declaration of Dapo Abiodun, the incumbent governor of Ogun State, as the winner of the election has not been met without resistance, and is also part of the strongest points being advanced by the court.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vehemently contested Abiodun’s position, dismissing him as a mere seat-warmer for the rightful occupant, Ladi Adebutu.

At the heart of the PDP’s discord lies their perception of a breach in the electoral act committed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), particularly in relation to the margin of victory and the treatment of invalidated votes.

The PDP’s dissatisfaction hinges on the variance in the margin of victory between the two primary contenders.

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INEC’s official pronouncement indicates that Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) garnered 276,298 votes, while Oladipupo Adebutu, the PDP candidate, amassed 262,383 votes.

This translates to a margin of approximately 13,915 votes favoring Abiodun.

Nonetheless, the PDP asserts that this margin of victory overlooks crucial facets, particularly the nullified votes and their potential ramifications.

The PDP’s viewpoint is that the omission of factoring in invalidated votes in the calculation of the difference between the APC and PDP candidates’ tallies violates the electoral act and showcases a disregard for the principles of impartiality and precision.

The crux of the PDP’s argument revolves around INEC’s purported failure to adequately address the invalidated votes and their potential implications on the final election outcome.

Voicing concerns, the PDP underscores the significance of considering the number of permanent voter cards (PVCs) collected in areas where the election was disrupted or annulled by INEC.

These disruptions stemmed from a myriad of factors, including disruptions and procedural irregularities.

INEC’s Strategy and the Curtain Call

In an unexpected twist, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) makes the strategic decision to conclude its defense without summoning any witnesses.

INEC’s legal representation, Olumide Ogidan, articulates that their case will stand on the foundation laid by the petitioners.

This move raises eyebrows and kindles further speculation about the integrity of the electoral process.

While not unprecedented, it adds an additional layer of complexity to the unfolding legal clash.

Villamond Investment: Crown Ville Estate

Villamond Investment: Crown Ville Estate

This step potentially lends credence to Ladi Adebutu’s contentions that the electoral process was tainted and compromised by the actions of APC’s Abiodun.

Cloud of Certificate Forgery Allegations

The cloud of certificate forgery allegations ominously looms over Dapo Abiodun’s standing.

The petitioners assert that Abiodun proffered a counterfeit WAEC certificate, casting a shadow over the legitimacy of his educational qualifications.

Despite receiving a subpoena from the tribunal, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) fails to produce the purported certificate, leaving the matter unresolved.

The resolution of this accusation carries far-reaching implications for Abiodun’s political trajectory.

As the Ogun State Governorship Tribunal delves deeper into the labyrinth of allegations, evidentiary presentations, and legal debates, Dapo Abiodun’s grip on the governorship of Ogun State appears increasingly precarious.

The weight of evidence pointing towards potential electoral irregularities and the specter of certificate forgery allegations conspire to create a daunting landscape for Abiodun to navigate.

The decisions and rulings handed down by the tribunal in the impending days will undoubtedly shape the course of Ogun State’s fate.

As Ladi Adebutu fights to retrieve his rightful mandate giving him by the people. The answer lies in the hands of justice.

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