Ogun Court: The day after the verdict | The Guardian Nigeria News

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Prince Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State. Photo/Twitter/dabiodunMFR

Saturday, September 30, 2023 was a day like no other in the political calendar of Ogun State. Although this was the day the State Governor’s Electoral Tribunal delivered its verdict on the petition of Oladipupo Adebutu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the re-election of the Ogun State governor, the Prince Dapo Abiodun, the events that followed symbolically bring the metaphor of spring into the political geography of the state.

If the spring season is synonymous with renewal and hope, and a reminder that after every hardship comes ease, reflecting the resilience inherent in nature and man, this transition was expressed shortly after in the State of Ogun. This unfolded in dramatic fashion with the unanimous decision of the three-member tribunal headed by Justice Hamidu Kunaza which struck out the petition on the grounds that it was “incompetent, defective, disjunctive and lacking in merit”.

During the nearly 12 hours of reading of the judgment, furtive and forced smiles and narrowed glances danced through the courtroom and through the adjacent streets from Oke Yeke, Isabo, Kuto to Naiwair -Ud-Deen – almost 5 square kilometers according to the estimate. and with partisan interests across the state. The palpable and eerie atmosphere resembled the peace of a cemetery.

This reminded many of a similar scenario and statement at the same venue four years earlier, when the 2019 governorship election panel, Justice Yusuf Halilu, had described the petition filed by Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement , APM, against Prince Dapo Abiodun: of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as “lazy, fictitious, malicious and mischievous”, and ending with another sinisterly nasty cut: “The petition is doomed, fails and is hereby rejected. »

Coincidentally, Akinlade, then an APM candidate, ran on the PDP ticket alongside Adebutu in the March 18 elections. Last Saturday, the Kunaza panel found no basis for the mountain of documents presented in over 200 Ghana must-have bags and the petitioners’ claims that thugs, whom they associated with the APC, disrupted the elections in more than 99 polling stations, thus preventing the elections from taking place. more than 40,000 voters to vote or have their votes counted. He further said that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of non-compliance, excessive voting, disenfranchisement of voters and corrupt practices in the elections.

However, contrary to reports that party loyalists might indulge in violent attacks, the combined security forces, comprising men of the Nigeria Police Force, led by CP Abiodun Alamutu of the Department of Security Services of the State (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps. (NSCDC) and others, mounted as sentinels, took charge of the security of the premises of the Isabo High Court and its immediate surroundings to avoid a descent into chaos or an artificial scene painted at the start of the trials by PDP leader Segun Sowunmi. , who claimed to have been mistreated.

On the day of judgment, the mood was one of sobriety, anxiety and uncertainty as party faithful thronged the court premises. Their political party was expected to be victorious in the end. As night fell, the atmosphere, after several hours of waiting, changed to that of celebration and carnival as cries of wild jubilation filled the air of the APC camp. By the time Justice Kunaza finished reading his judgment, all the PDP supporters were nowhere to be found; they had hastily left the court premises.

Thus, the majority won while the minority had their say. As expected, PDP and Adebutu said they were heading to the court of appeal. They base their argument on what they believe to be “a court judgment based on technicalities.”

It remains to be seen whether the Court of Appeal or even the Supreme Court will overturn the trial court’s verdict. But other opposition parties, under the aegis of the State Inter-Party Consultative Council, declared the matter dead as soon as it reached the higher courts.

Addressing a press conference in Abeokuta on Tuesday, the State Chairman of IPAC, Engr. Samson Okusanya described the statement credited to the PDP after the judgment, which discredited the verdict, as tame and born of gross ignorance on the part of political mongers:
“Ladi Adebutu and his team of lawyers should have known that the law and facts are not based on technicalities but rather on the fairness and objectivity of the legal process which states that the petitioner should have presented certain information in the petition. We salute the judiciary and especially the members of the Tribunal headed by Judge Hamidu Kunaza for their job well done.

“The PDP and its candidate should above all put an end to their chase before the Court of Appeal and accept the will of God,” he assumed on behalf of the presidents of the other parties, thus confirming that all, except the PDP, had acquired.

For Governor Abiodun, it appears that his inclusive governance model is gaining ground since other opposition elements within the APC, who temporarily ceded their support to the African Democratic Congress, the ADC, the candidate Biyi Otegbeye, returned to pledge their loyalty to the governor. The group led by its former chairman, Chief Derin Adebiyi, returned to the dominant party, leaving former governor Ibikunle Amosun in Siberia politics in the state.

He noted that the validation of the mandate by the court only means the revalidation of his tripartite agreement and social contract between himself, the good people of Ogun State and God. The huge crowd of officials who welcomed him after his victory at the Tribunal confirmed their solidarity with the helmsman.

Expressing his gratitude, Abiodun expressed delight that the judiciary was firm, fair and transparent in its judgment which affirmed his victory.
“Yes, we worked very hard during the first four years of our mandate against any attempt at distraction. We worked very hard for our re-election. We campaigned in every nook and cranny of the state and we won this election fair and square. But some mischievous individuals decided that this defeat was not enough for them and that they had to go to court, having failed to buy this election. I would like to thank the Almighty God for once again reaffirming our victory. We thank the judiciary for defending what is true and just. It was a diligent, careful and transparent judgment, which leaves no doubt, except for those who want to continue being mischievous,” he said.

Since then, 24 hours does not seem to be enough for a working day. Drones have been deployed to combat insecurity, particularly kidnapping and banditry, Abiodun told the new General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 81st Division, comprising Ogun and Lagos States, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Usman, who paid him a courtesy visit at his office in Oke. Mosane. The seemingly intractable sections of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway would also be repaired as soon as possible in line with the agreement he reached with the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, and all efforts are being made to operationalize the aerotropolis of Iperu-Ilishan with the soil. dismantling of the aeronautical city of 200 houses on the outskirts of the Agro-Cargo airport, penultimate week.

An unrepentant advocate of public-private partnership, Abiodun assured the visiting United States Consul General on Wednesday that he would collaborate more in the areas of economy, good governance, security, climate change and development of human capital in the world.

“The state’s strategic location as the main gateway to Lagos has contributed to its status as Nigeria’s industrial hub. Our state is home to one of the largest industrial zones in sub-Saharan Africa, which includes the OPIC-owned Agbara Industrial Zone of 8,000 hectares,” he said.
There is also the Ogun-Guangdong Federal Free Trade Zone, with 44 operating companies, tenant factories around the world, with over 6,000 Nigerian employees and approximately 100,000 tonnes of goods moving in and out daily.

According to the governor, his administration since 2019 has brought together a team of highly resourceful technocrats and intelligent policy architects and conceptualized a transformational philosophy dubbed ‘ISEYA’, which is an acronym for Infrastructure Development, Social Protection and Welfare, education and human capital development, youth empowerment and agriculture and food security.

“Through this concept, we have strategically transformed the state with modern infrastructure, deliberate policy measures to attract businesses and
moving the economy from a state-driven federal allocation to becoming the third largest internally generated revenue in the country,” he said.

The governor, while appreciating the US government for its strong stance on democratic governance, particularly on the sanctity of the electoral process, as well as its support for various reforms in the electoral process and for its uncompromising stance against violators electoral. There is no doubt that the court’s judgment is a rare elixir of transformation taking root in Ogun State. In effect, the judgment empowers Governor Abiodun to take the state to the next level, despite the disruption of the litigation.
• Somorin writes from Abeokuta

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