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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

JUST IN: Tegbe and PDP lose as Tribunal affirms Sarafadeen Alli winner of Oyo South senatorial election

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The National Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed Senator Sarafadeen Alli of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the Oyo South Senatorial election.

The tribunal in its ruling on Wednesday in Ibadan dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the district, Chief Joseph Tegbe, who challenged the outcome of the February 25, 2023, National Assembly election which saw the emergence of Alli as the winner at the tribunal.

Alli in the election held in over 2,000 polling units in the nine local government areas that make up Oyo South Senatorial District, scored 111,513 votes against Tegbe’s 92,481 votes.

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In the petition, marked: EPT/OY/SEN/04/2023, Tegbe is the first petitioner, while PDP is the second petitioner. However, Alli, APC, and INEC are the first second, and third respondents respectively. Tegbe had asked the three-man tribunal, led by Justice A. M. Yakubu, to order a rerun of the election, alleging that Alli failed to garner the majority of lawful votes in the election, which constituted non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral laws.

Tegbe called 32 witnesses, including himself, to prove his case that the election that produced the winner was fraught with irregularities and failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.


In the judgment, however, the tribunal held that the signatures of the majority of the witnesses, who introduced themselves as PDP polling agents during the election, did not match the documents signed at their respective polling units and the ones on their statements on oath. According to the panel, one of the witnesses, when docked, said he did not make the statement on oath ascribed to him and that the signature on it was not his own.

The panel also stated that the witnesses did not provide any means of identification, such as identity cards that would show they worked as PDP polling agents on the day of the election. It added that the statements on oath for some of the petitioners’ witnesses said they were males, whereas men made appearances before the special court.

Deciding the allegation of over-voting, the tribunal noted that the petitioners failed to rely on voter register to establish over-voting, adding that the voter register is an integral part of proving the allegation and that the Electoral Act has not abolished voters register. Every register, the panel said, must have found his or her name in the voter register and the name would be ticked at each polling unit before the register would be made to go through Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for accreditation.

The tribunal also said the evidence presented before it by the petitioners was not credible and difficult to believe, saying: “The petitioners have failed to present cogent, reliable, and compelling evidence, sufficient to affect te results of the poll” as declared by INEC.

On the issue of reconfiguration of BVAS raised by the petitioners that the panel should take judicial notice of, the tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove that reconfiguration of the BVAS for the purpose of conducting governorship and house of assembly polls, did not mean that all the data on the system had been erased. It stated further that the petitioners should have called INEC to answer questions on reconfiguration of the BVAS.

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