PDP’s application to recount the July 14 Ekiti State governorship ballot, has been dismissed by an Ekiti Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
Ruling on PDP’s application in the suit which has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Kayode Fayemi, the winner of the election as defendants, Chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice Bolaji Belgore, stated that the application lacked merit.
According to Belgore, Ekiti had 177 wards with 2,197 polling units in 16 local government areas but the petitioners only complained of 325 polling units in their petition before the tribunal. The chairman said PDP and its candidate did not complain about all the 2,197 polling units in the state.
“To pray for recount in all wards and polling units across the state is to make firm nonsense of the petitioners’ pleading,” Belgore said.
Justice Bolaji Belgore added that pleadings are written statements of parties in a procedure wherein they clearly state the materials, including documents, they will rely on in the proceeding. He further stated that what the petitioners wanted could not be situated in their pleading before the tribunal, and the evidence so generated from the recount would have no basis in the proceeding.
Belgore also said that what the petitioners wanted to do was to spring a surprise on the respondents, which they would not be able to respond to as time for pleading had closed. According to him, the tribunal was in agreement with the submission of the counsel for Fayemi, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), that the petitioners were fishing for evidence under the guise of recounting the ballot.
He concluded his ruling by stating, that the relief that seeks the recount be done in the presence of two representatives of the parties in the matter, secretary of the tribunal and security operatives, the tribunal held that involving its secretary would amount to the secretary giving evidence for the petitioners.
“The secretary of the tribunal cannot be a party to do what the application wanted,” Justice Belgore stated.
He, therefore, declared, “we hereby rule that the application is lacking in merit.”