The PDP and it’s candidate’s illusion to 3,781 votes:
It will interest the public to state that the PDP and it’s candidate’s pray the lower tribunal in relief xviii for the deduction of the APC votes on account of alleged over voting and non recording of accreditation. Two legal issues arose in this relief for the determination of the court. Whether as at 22/9/18, INEC has declared any of the candidates contesting for the election as winner and if the answer is in the positive, can a candidate seek for the declaration based on the election of 22/9/18?, Whether PDP and it’s candidate’s proved the allegations of over voting and non recording of accreditation and if proved what is the effect in law.
The law is settled that the culmination of the election process is the declaration of a winner after all the votes have been counted. See the case of Faleke v. INEC (2016) 18 NWLR (pt. 1543) @ 118 F-H. With regards to the Osun governorship election, as at 22/9/18 the decision of the INEC was that the election was inconclusive and thus ordered a rerun or supplementary election on 27/9/18. It is important to point out that the PDP and it’s candidate actively participated in the 27/9/18 rerun election but lost. The big question to ask is assuming PDP and it’s candidate won the rerun election, would they have challenged its outcome as fraught with irregularities? They showed interest in the rerun, actively participated without any complaint at all. Having established that INEC who was saddled with the responsibility to conduct the election did not declare any candidate who participated in the Osun governorship election of 22/9/18, it will be an exercise in futility for any candidate to be seeking a declaration on the basis of the 22/9/18 election when in actual fact cause of action has not arisen. In other words, declaration that will give petitioners ground to approach the tribunal has not been made by the electoral body. In Adeleke’s case therefore, the election petition filed by him and his party will suffer a death blow for not having a competent petition before the tribunal since no valid order can be made on basis of election of 22/9/18 when no candidate has been declared.
At page 180 of the majority judgement at the lower tribunal, the tribunal held that the PDP and it’s candidate failed woefully to proof over voting and therefore denied them of the relief sought therefrom. The PDP and it’s candidate made attempts to proof non recording of accreditation on form EC8 A. It is important to point out at this juncture that APC and it’s candidate also objected to some of the votes of the PDP and it’s candidate in some areas where PDP won and where some pink copies of form EC8 A did not have legible recordings of accreditation or to employ the language of PDP, where accreditation were not recorded. However, very pathetically, the majority judgement didn’t review the areas objected to by APC with regards to the allegations of non recording of accreditation. The effect of the objection to PDP votes is to show the court that the allegations of non recording of accreditation was a fault if any of the ad-hoc staff of the INEC and more importantly too, non of the PDP witnesses testify to the effect that the alleged malpractice or non compliance was done in connivance with the APC agents. The poser here is assuming without conceding that there was non recording of accreditation and there was no evidence that agents of a particular party conspire with the INEC, how can that party be punished for the offence which it knew nothing about.
Further to that the electoral Act has guided the our courts on the measure or quantum of non compliance that will be sufficient to annul an election. It must be mentioned that the alleged non compliance must be substantial and petitioners as in this case must state as well how the alleged non compliance affected the outcome of the election. Throughout the proceedings, the PDP witnesses admitted that the results of the party are intact as contained in the CTC of form EC8 A and pink copies of same but disagree that the columns for accreditation were legible or inserted. They therefore concluded that those forms where recording of accreditation are not clear or not clearly indicated had been tampered with and therefore sought for nullification of those units. please see section 139 of the electoral Act. The Germaine issue here is whether the allegations of non recording of accreditation on form EC8 A are so substantial enough to ground nullification of election. Especially when parties are in agreement as to the results allotted to parties in the election.
On the whole, PDP and it’s candidate are apparently making lasting minute effort to change the face of their dead case to one with live.
It’s finally submitted that the case of the PDP at the appeal court will die a natural death.