The http://Supreme Court on Thursday reserved judgment in the Ogun State governorship election legal battle between Governor Dapo Abiodun and his challenger, Oladipupo Adebutu.
While the governor is of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adebutu contested the March 18, 2023 election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice John Inyang Okoro, who led a five-man panel of the Supreme Court, after taking arguments from counsel in the appeal announced that a date for judgment would be communicated to parties in the matter.
In the main appeal, the appellants, Adebutu and PDP prayed the apex court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh elections in the 99 polling units where elections were allegedly cancelled.
The two appellants through their lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN argued that the issue of election cancellation in the 99 polling units was never denied by the electoral body.
The senior lawyer maintained that Governor Abiodun and APC were prematurely, wrongfully and unlawfully declared winners of the March 18 poll when fresh election had not been conducted in the 99 polling units.
Uche drew the attention of the Supreme Court to the election results announced by INEC where governor Abiodun and APC won by a merging of only 13, 000 votes adding that the votes at the 99 polling units were more than 40, 000 votes.
According to him, the votes at the 99 polling units being more than 40, 000 were capable of determining the real winners adding that unless elections in the 99 polling units are conducted, the Ogun governorship poll remains inconclusive.
He therefore pleaded with the apex court to reverse the judgments of the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal which upheld the gubernatorial election.
However, counsel to INEC, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, urged the Court to dismiss the appeal.
Lead counsel to the APC, Tayo Oyetibo SAN, also canvassed dismissal of the appeal on the ground that the election was conclusively concluded.
Oyetibo submitted that the documents brought by the appellants that elections were cancelled in 99 polling units were worthless papers that have no heading, no date and no signature and name of any official.
The senior lawyer argued that the purported documents on election cancellation were offensive to the Electoral Act because conditions for their admissibility were not met.
He therefore pleaded with the Supreme Court to reject the documents as done by the tribunal and the Court of Appeal for having no probative values.
The positions of INEC and the APC were adopted by the second respondent in the appeal.
The Appeal Court, Lagos Division, had in a split decision on November 24, 2023 affirmed the re-election of Dapo Abiodun as the duly elected governor of Ogun State.
The majority judgment delivered by Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh dismissed the appeal filed by PDP and its governorship candidate, Oladipupo Adebutu.
However, the minority judgment delivered by Justice Jane Esienanwan Inyang allowed the appeal and ordered the INEC to conduct a fresh election within 90 days