Abuja - The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the election of Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP) as governor of Ondo State.
A panel of seven Jutices, presided by Justice Sylvester Nguta held that the appeal filed against Mimiko’s re-election was unsustainable.
Rotimi Akeredolu, candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) challenged the July 2, decision of the Appeal Court which upheld the Oct. 20, 2012 re-election Mimiko of the Labour party (LP).
Nguta held that the decision of the Akure Division of the Appeal Court on the matter was apt, adding that the apex court would not upturn an appellate decision which was given according to evidence brought before it.
According to Nguta, the appellant did not sufficiently prove his plethora of allegations against the conduct of the election.
"The appellant failed to prove the allegations of substantial non-compliance of the 2012 election with Electoral Act 2010 as amended beyond reasonable doubt.
"The appellant also failed to provide cogent evidence of the voter register he claimed was manipulated just as he was unable to prove allegations of fraud, irregularities and violent disruption of the election.
"In the circumstance, the appeal fails and it is therefore dismissed; the decision of the Akure Division of the Appeal court on the matter is thereby upheld,’’ he said.
Akeredolu claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conspired with Mimiko to illegally inject about 90 000 fake voters in the voter register used for the election.
He further alleged that INEC failed to display the voter register before the election as mandated by the Electoral Act.
According to him, the election ought not to have been held as the processes leading to casting of votes were fraudulent.
The INEC returning officer and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Adebiyi Daramola announced Mimiko to have won the election with 260 199 votes from the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
However, Daramola announced that ACN’s candidate Akeredolu polled a total of 143 512 votes.
Nguta further held that it was not proved how the allegation of injection of over 90 000 voters in the voter register affected the final outcome of the election.
In a similar judgment, Justice Mary Peter-Odili delivering judgment in a similar appeal filed by Olusola Oke of PDP held that the appeal lacked merit.
She said the allegation against the conduct of election required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, adding that "neither Oke nor his party did the needful to warrant the granting of any of the prayers.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the appellate court, Oke had approached the Supreme Court for what he called "further and better interpretation of the issues raised’’.
He had sought the apex court to declare whether the decision of the lower court to over look the allegation of the manipulation of the voter register was right.
Oke in his appeal prayed the court to upturn the decision of the Court of Appeal and declare him winner of the election.
In the alternative, the PDP candidate sought a fresh conduct of the election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the INEC returning officer had Oke scored a total of 155 961 votes thereby placing him in third position of the log.
Speaking with newsmen after the judgment, Mimiko expressed delight on the outcome of the challenge, saying "a stage is now set for us to serve the people".
"I owe the victory to God, all my supporters, the party, and of course all my well wishers; the distraction is over so I can now settle down to work," he said.