Appeal Court Dismisses Case against Ondo Senator, INEC over Rerun Election 

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The Court of Appeal, Monday in Akure, dismissed the petition of the United People’s Congress Party (UPCP) filed to nullify the victory of Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, representing the Senatorial District of Ondo South at the Senate.

The UPCP filed an appeal at the court of Appeal, Akure Division, having dissatisfied with the judgment of the Federal High Court in Akure, on July 5, 2019, which dismissed the application filed by the Candidate of Action Alliance (AA), Mr. Olatunji Felder, who prayed the court to nullify the victory of the Senator over the conduct of supplementary election of March 9, 2019 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ) in Ondo South, on the ground that the electoral umpire did not write officially to inform necessary parties before embarking on the said rerun election.

In a unanimous judgement delivered by the trio of Justices M.A Danjuma, R.M Abdullahi and P.A Mahmood, the Court of Appeal dismissed the petition of the UPCP for lack of merit.

The court also awarded the sum of N300,000 cost against UPCP.

Barr AA Ojopagogo and Barr Kuku who were defence counsels to Tofowomo and INEC respectively told our correspondent in separate interviews that the judgment is a victory for democracy.

Segun Ogodo, lawyer to the petitioner, was not available for a press interview.

On February 23, Tofowomo had polled 79,036 to defeat his closest Rival, the incumbent Senator, Yele Omogunwa of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, who scored 51,993, with vote margins of 27,036 and Olatunji Felder of the AA coming behind Omogunwa with third position.

But the poll was declared inconclusive because the victory margin was less than the total votes cancelled in 56 polling units of four councils estimated at 28,300 votes which necessitated the supplementary election conducted by INEC.

After the supplementary election, INEC Returning Officer for the district, Prof. Kayode Onifade, declared Tofowomo winner with 81,892 votes against Omogunwa’s 55,610 and Felder with 27,150 votes.