Premises of the Ogun state Magistrate Court, Isabo, Abeokuta, which serves as the venue for the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, have been taken over by joint security forces.
The Hamidu Kunaza-led panel is currently delivering its judgement in a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, challenging Dapo Abiodun’s victory in the March 18 governorship election.
OgunWatch reports numerous security professionals reportedly took control of the court as early as 6 a.m., at the same time men from the Department of State Security (DSS) were also dispatched to prevent a breakdown in law and order.
Meanwhile, journalists who wished to cover proceedings were also fenced out despite showing their Identity cards as the tribunal secretary said only ten newsmen would be accredited for ‘security reasons’.
With two armoured personnel carriers stationed in front of the court, all entrances to the Isabo court have been blocked off to restrict both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
After receiving 276,298 votes, INEC pronounced Abiodun as the victor. Adebutu received 262,38 votes, and Biyi Otegbeye of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) finished in a distant third place with 94,754 votes.
Abiodun and the APC were brought before the Tribunal by the PDP and Adebutu, who claimed that the governor had not received the majority of the votes cast in the March 18 governorship election.
In the petition with the file number EPT/OG/GOV/03/2023, the PDP and Adebutu accused the INEC of violating the Electoral Act and engaging in unethical behaviour during the election.
Additionally, the petitioners claimed that thugs interfered with elections in over 99 polling places, preventing over 40,000 voters from casting ballots.
Adebutu is requesting a court order naming him as the election’s victor.
Additionally, he requested that the court order the INEC to hold new elections in 99 polling places spread across 41 wards and 16 local government areas of the State, where previous polls had been annulled or postponed as a result of disruption and excessive voting.
OgunWatch reports that the three man panel entered the court room at exactly 9am and went straight to the business of the day.