Hometown Witnesses Testify Against Governor Abiodun in Election Petition Tribunal

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Hometown Witnesses Testify Against Governor Abiodun in Election Petition Tribunal
Governor Abiodun Faces Accusations of Election Irregularities as Witnesses Testify

Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State witnessed a crucial development on Wednesday as witnesses from Iperu-Remo, the hometown of Governor Dapo Abiodun, testified against him in a petition presented before the Election Petition Tribunal. The testimonies were presented in support of a petition filed by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ladi Adebutu.

The petition, marked EPT/OG/GOV/03/2023, challenges the victory of Governor Abiodun and alleges non-compliance with the Electoral Act and corrupt practices during the election. The proceedings resumed on Wednesday, with Gordy Uche (SAN), the lawyer representing the petitioners, calling additional witnesses who were voters, party agents, and members of the opposition party from Iperu-Remo in Ikenne LG.

The witnesses, comprising Prince Abiodun Shotiwa, Oluwafunmilola Desalu, Adekoya Babatunde, Muibat Ariyo Adeola, and Rafiu Akeem, all residents of Abiodun’s Iperu-Remo township, presented their accounts before the tribunal. They shed light on the alleged invasion of their polling units by thugs purportedly loyal to the ruling party, leading to the disruption of voting and vote counting during the March 18 election.

During cross-examination, Desalu vividly recalled the chaos that unfolded at her polling unit. She recounted how masked men riding motorcycles stormed the area, firing shots indiscriminately. Fearing for their safety, voters and INEC officials sought refuge, ultimately resulting in the cancellation of votes in the polling unit.

Desalu expressed her dismay over the incident, emphasizing that over 500 voters in Unit 006, Imosan, Ikenne Local Government, were disenfranchised as a consequence. Although she did not report the incident to the police, she explained that law enforcement personnel and other security agents deployed for the exercise had witnessed the event firsthand.

Akeem, another witness, disclosed that the political thugs demanded that voters not supporting the All Progressives Congress (APC) vacate the units before they disrupted the electoral process. He recounted their intimidating presence at their polling unit, stating, “They (thugs) came to our polling unit and said, ‘If you know you’re not voting for APC, you must leave here now.’ That’s why everyone left.”

When asked why he did not report the matter to the police, Akeem cited the presence of a police officer who had witnessed the entire episode. The officer’s presence during the drama and disruption of the process led him to believe that reporting the incident would be redundant.

The testimonies presented by these witnesses shed light on the alleged irregularities and intimidation that occurred during the election in Iperu-Remo. As the proceedings continue, the Election Petition Tribunal will carefully consider the evidence presented and determine its implications for the outcome of the election.

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