Declare me Ekiti governor, PDP’s Kolapo tells tribunal
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State, Olusola Kolapo, has urged the state election petition tribunal to declare him as the duly elected governor of the state.
Mr Kolapo, a professor, who is the immediate past deputy governor of the state, stated this on Thursday while testifying before the tribunal sitting at the FCT High Court, Apo, Abuja.
He, however, stated that the tribunal should in the alternative declare the election inconclusive or nullify it and order for a fresh election.
Led in evidence by the lead counsel for the petitioners, Yusuf Alli (SAN), the PDP candidate adopted his written statement on oath as his testimony before the tribunal.
He also adopted his three responses to the defence of the three respondents before the tribunal.
“Having scored the highest vote, I should be declared validly elected or returned as the elected governor of Ekiti state,” he said.
He, however, added a caveat that, “the election held on July 14 be declared inconclusive and an order be made for the conduct of a fresh election (supplementary election).
“That the election held on July 14 be nullified and in its place enter an order for a fresh election to be conducted or held throughout the state.”
The witness, who testified as the 31st witness for the petitioners (PW31), stated in the statement that Governor Kayode Fayemi was not qualified to contest the election after being indicted for fraud by the Justice Oyewole Panel of Inquiry.
However, while being cross examined by the counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN), Mr Kolapo stated that he was not aware that the indictment had been quashed by a court.
According to him, “what is available to me is exactly what I stated in my written statement on oath. I am not aware of any other thing.”
He stated that his claim about voided ballot papers during the election was based on information supplied by his agents in polling units across the state.
The various polling units, wards, Local Government Areas (LGAs) and state agents, according to him, were his representatives and those of the first petitioner, the PDP.
When asked what he wanted, Mr Kolapo declared, “I want to be declared governor of Ekiti state pursuant to the election.”
Reminded that he sought for either declaration of the said election as inconclusive or even outright nullification of the election and in view of these if he could be declared governor, the PDP candidate said, “I cannot be made governor through an inconclusive election. I cannot be made governor through a nullified election.”
Answering a question under cross examination by a member of the second respondent’s legal team, Kazeem Gbadamosi, Mr Kolapo said he voted on the election day in Ikere.
The PDP candidate stated that according to what his agents informed him, improper counting and voiding of votes during the contentious election cut across all the LGAs of the state.
“If there are malpractices, the electoral law is clear: the voided votes should be cancelled. But if there is none, the voided votes belonging to me should added to my results,” he told the tribunal.
While answering questions from Dr Muiz Banire (SAN), for the third respondent, Mr Kolapo said though he voted in the election, there was initial problem as the card reader machine could not recognise his Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC).
He declared that he did not see all the voided votes meant for him physically, saying that they were recorded on the Form EC 8 series brought to him by his agents.
According to him, the calculation he did which gave him the highest number of votes in the election included the voided votes meant for him.
He stated that, to the best of his knowledge, none of his agents died even though they were intimidated, harassed and threatened during the election.