The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan on Monday upturned the October 9, 2015 judgment of the National and State Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, by reaffirming and returning Buruji Kashamu as Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District.
The appellate court in a unanimous decision, held that Kashamu’s appeal is meritorious and therefore succeeds, consequently, the three-man panel headed by Justice Shuaib set aside the ruling of the elections tribunal and affirmed, as well as returned Senator Kashamu as the winner of the March 28, 2015 senatorial election in Ogun East Senatorial District.
While reading the lead judgment, Justice Shuaib held that the tribunal erred and was partisan. He added that it descended into the arena of politics by scouting for evidence to nullify Kashamu’s election and truncate his victory.
Justice Shuaib added that it was curious, illogical and perverse of the tribunal to place so much reliance on the evidence of a prosecution witness labeled as PW 44 and further admit as evidence, documents that were clearly inadmissible under the law, to truncate Kashamu’s victory.
According to the panel, Prosecution Witness 44 who posed as a forensic expert, had discredited himself during cross examination when he stated that anyone with prerequisite knowledge could do what he did and added that he had no degree in statistics.
“There is no certification of the admitted print out by the said forensic expert so it is not an exhibit, and he also sold himself out when he stated that the Appendix A, B and C which was his report was printed from a computer, but the tribunal held that it was PW44’s statement on oath and not a print out,” the panel stated.
The three-man panel further held that the case of Prince Dapo Abiodun and the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a non-issue, as the material used to nullify the results of elections in some polling units and order re-election is inadmissible in law.
The panel, comprising of Justices A.G Msheila, M.L Shuaib and Ignatius Agube, also adopted the same judgment for the cross petition filed by Prince Adedapo Abiodun.
It will be recalled that Kashamu’s appeal had suffered a setback before the Court of Appeal due to the disbandment of the panel that was originally set up to hear it by the President of the Court of Appeal.
The panel was disbanded due to a petition written by Senator Kashamu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), alleging manipulations of the matter and a compromise of panel members by Prince Abiodun and the APC.
Speaking to journalists after the judgement, the Chairman of PDP in Ogun state, Dayo Bayo described the judgement as victory for democracy.