Tribunal Strikes Out Petition Challenging Faleke’s Victory

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Honourable James Abiodun Faleke

An Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, today, struck out an application challenging the victory of a member of House of Representative, Honourable James Abiodun Faleke, of All Progressive Congress (APC) representing Ikeja Federal Constituency, at the last general election.

The tribunal headed by Justice Kunaza M. Hamidu, struck out the application, following a motion filed by the petitioner, Mutiu Olakunle Okunola, candidate of People’s Democratic party (PDP), who contested for the seat with Faleke at the last election

Okunola who recently defected to APC, had dragged Faleke alongside APC and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the tribunal for reversal of Faleke’s victory and asked the tribunal to declare him as the winner of the election.

At the resumed hearing of the application today, Okunola’s counsel, Owoyemi Ibrahim, told the panel that his client has decided to withdraw the application against all the respondents.

Ibrahim told the panel that the motion for the withdrawing the application, was pursuant to section 145(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010, with an 11 paragraph-affidavit deposed to by the petitioner, Okunola.

He therefore urged the panel to grant the motion and withdraw the application against all the respondents.

Responding, lawyers to Faleke and APC, Kolawole Salami and Ademola Adefolaju, who hold the brief of Mr. Gboyega Oyewole, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told the court that their clients are not opposing the petitioner’s withdrawal motion.

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Both Salami and Adefolaju further told the tribunal that their clients have filed a nine paragraph-affidavit in response to the petitioner’s motion.

Equally, INEC’s counsel, Z. S. Makinde, despite not filing any affidavit, also told the court that his client is not opposing the motion.

Following the submissions of parties, the tribunal chairman, Justice Hamidu held: “having read through the petitioner’s motion dated and filed on 30th May, 2019, with the affidavit and written address. Also, having gone through the first and second respondents’ affidavits, leave is granted to the petitioner to withdraw his motion.

“Consequently, petitioner’s petition against all the respondents is hereby struck out”.

 
Okunola in motion had asked the tribunal for an order granting him and PDP leave to withdraw this petition filed on March 15, 2019 against Honourable Faleke and other respondents. And any other orders the tribunal may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.
Okunola stated that the  grounds for the application was in view that the dispute and issues can be resolved without the need for a hearing or full hearing.
Okunola in an affidavit in support of the motion averred  he was a House of Representatives candidate at the above election held on February 23, 2019 for the seat of Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
And that the election was held on February 23, 2019 when himself of the PDP and Hon., James Abiodun Faleke the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) together with others were Candidates at the said election. Adding that the third respondent (INEC) conducted the February 23, 2019 election to the membership of the House of Representatives, Ikeja Federal Constituency, Ikeia, Lagos State in respect of which the petition was filed and challenged after the first respondent had been declared as winner of the Federal Representative of Ikeja Federal Constituency, Ikeja, Lagos State on February 24, 2019.
Okunola averred that in view of the above, he filed this petition alongside his party, PDP challenging the purported victory of the first and second respondents.
He further averred that upon consultations, he is now of the view that the dispute and issues can be resolved amicably without the need for a hearing or full hearing. And that there is now an understanding to settle this dispute and issues out of court and Tribunal.
He stated that, it is of my utmost intention to withdraw this petition against the respondents and explore settlement of this matter. And that it will in the interest of justice to grant him the leave to withdraw the petition as the respondents would not be prejudice.
Also, Honourable Faleke and APC in their affidavit to Okunola’s petition to withdraw the petition deposed to by Kayode Adeboye, in the law firm of Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), averred that within his personal knowledge or as he have been informed by Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, that the Petitioners filed a petition dated March 15, 2019 challenging the return of the first Respondent as the winner of the Ikeja Federal Constituency Election held on February 23, 2019.
Deponent averred that Honourable Faleke filed a reply to the Petitioners’ petition on April 9, 2019, the grounds to which the application is brought is in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act. And that he was informed by Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, on the June 10, 2019 at around 11:00am at our office at Sabo Yaba, Lagos and I verily believe them to be true as follows: that he (Faleke) shall not be objecting to the application for withdrawal.
And that there was no agreement or term of any kind whatsoever was made by the parties. Adding that no undertaking has been entered into, in relation to the withdrawal of the petition.
The deponent also stated that the withdrawal of this petition is solely at the instance of the petitioners and there was no collusion of any sort between the Petitioners and the Respondents.

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