The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday upheld the victory of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and dismissed the appeal by Accord Party candidate Rashidi Ladoja
Ladoja and his party challenged the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal delivered on October 27 in Ibadan.
The three-man tribunal, led by Justice Muhammed Mayaki, declared Ajimobi, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election.
The five-man panel of the Court of Appeal, headed by Justice H.M Ogunjimiju, unanimously upheld Ajimobi’s victory in the April 11 governorship election.
Justice Ogunjimiju said the tribunal was right in not attributing any probative value to the evidence of Bimbo Adepoju, Principal Witness (PW1) of the appellant, because he was a farmer.
She said a farmer could not give an expert opinion and his testimony could not be relied upon.
The totality of the evidence of the appellant, she added, rested solely on Adepoju, an Accord member.
The judge said Adepoju informed the court that he could go to any length to ensure victory for his party.
She said Adepoju’s evidence was biased and inconsistent because he was not an expert.
Justice Ogunjimiju said the exhibits tendered by the appellant were merely dumped in the court as no explanation was made.
The appeal, she said, lacked merit and was dismissed.
In his reaction, Accord’s counsel Aderemi Adegbora said his client would head for the Supreme Court.
APC’s counsel Wole Aina, however, hailed the court for the judgment.
Former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala called on aggrieved contenders to stop litigation and cooperate with Ajimobi.
Alao-Akala was one of the early callers at Ajimobi’s Oluyole residence.
He said the victory was well deserved and was an affirmation of the popular mandate given to the governor by the people.
The former governor confirmed reports of his planned defection to the APC.
Alao-Akala said: “I am here to rejoice with my brother. We knew what the outcome would be; we had expected what we got today. So we are rejoicing.
“The governor has the interest of the people at heart. He should, therefore, be allowed to take care of their welfare and to let them have life more abundant. We are all one.
“When somebody is in front, you must follow him; God has put him there. Let us all help him so that he can also help the people.
“I will advise the opposition or whoever is still aggrieved to please let us bury the hatchet and work together with the governor to develop the state forward.”
Commenting on his reported defection to APC, he said: “it has been on; we are still crossing the ‘t’ and dotting the ‘i’. I am on my way to APC”.
Ajimobi dedicated his latest judicial victory to God and the people.
“We give glory to God. If God says yes, nobody can say no. We owe this victory to God and to the people who want continuity.
“I am appealing to my brother, Senator Ladoja and others to join us and work together with us instead of going from Appeal Court to Supreme Court.”