The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senatorial Candidate for Lagos West in the last general elections, Otunba Segun Adewale, (Aeroland), has stated that he would appeal the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal’s ruling, maintaining that he did not abandon his petition.
At a joint press conference, he addressed with his lead counsel, Barr. Desmond Biriomoni, at his office in Ikeja on Sunday, the senatorial candidate for Lagos West in the last general election faulted the ruling of the three-man panel of the tribunal hearing his petition challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidate, Alhaja Idiat Oluranti Adebule.
The Tribunal, sitting in Lagos, had in a unanimous decision upheld Adebule’s argument that the 1st and 2nd petitioners, Segun Adewale and the PDP, abandoned their petition. The panel comprised Justice Ashua Ewah (Chairman), Justice M. A. Sambo and Justice Abdullahi Ozegya.
But in his reaction, the PDP candidate dismissed the Tribunal’s ruling, maintaining that it was wrong for the panel to have ruled that he abandoned the petition he filed before them and indicated that the ruling would be challenged at the Appeal Court.
He insisted that it was not possible for him to abandon his petition at the Tribunal following the mandate freely given to him by the people, who were also the ones that were “even funding the litigation.”
In his words, “It was a mandate freely given to me by the people, and it is the electorate who are even funding the litigation.
“I read in the newspaper that I have abandoned the petition, me and my lawyers. I have to correct the negative narrative. Me and my lawyers, we never abandoned the petition.
“The petition is on, we have no reason to give up because I won the election. I was robbed and we have evidence to show that we won the election.
“Apart from that, the APC candidate is not qualified academically, so there is no reason for me to give up, the narrative portrayed in those reports published is wrong. The press briefing is called to debunk the news.”
On his part, his lead counsel, Biriomoni, noted that they would challenge the Tribunal ruling at the Court of Appeal because the judgment came as a shortfall.
According to him, the case will be pursued at the Appeal Court, saying they were in possession of necessary details that would give them victory at the tribunal, but which the judges just refused to look at before it gave the ruling based on a technicality.
“We have all the necessary details that will give us victory at the Tribunal, but the judges just refused to look at what is on his table and gave the ruling based on a technicality,” the lawyer said.
Biriomoni recalled that at one point, the judges said they didn’t file a response to the petition filed by the respondent, and at another point, it stated the response was filed too early.
He noted that there was no penalty in the Electoral Act for filling responses early, adding that there was only a penalty when filed late as contained in Paragraphs 18 (1) and (4) of the Act.
“The technicality the judge based his ruling upon is not in consonance with the laws of our land, but we will challenge it.
“There are other steps for us to take which is appealing judgment, whatever grievance we have with the ruling will be taken up at the appellate level. We believe strongly that issues canvassed before the trial Tribunal was not taken into consideration.
“Also, the authorities cited to sway the Tribunal were wrongly applied and these are the issues that have formed the grounds of our foot in court.
“What we are pursuing is justice and we believe that the substantive matter which was dismissed should be heard and determined on its merit, not to be aborted by technicality.
“In this instance, in one breath, the judge was saying we did not apply. In another breath, he said we filed early,” he stated.