Victorious Ajimobi tells Ladoja, others to stop seeing Oyo as a big vilage

Governor Abiola Ajimobi answering questions from journalists at the Governor’s Office, Ibadan shortly after the governorship election petition tribunal affirmed his victory on Tuesday. Photo: Oyo State Government

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has hailed his victory at the governorship election petitions tribunal, attributing it to God and the people of the state who made it possible for him to break the second term jinx.

Former Governor, Rashidi Ladoja, of the Accord Party had filed a petition challenging the declaration of Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the April 11 governorship election in the state.

In his reaction shortly after the judgment, Ajimobi said the verdict has laid to rest all the innuendoes, evil machinations and falsehood being spread across the state and beyond by his opponents after his victory.

The governor said, “I am of immense gratitude to God for this victory and for making it possible for me to break the second term jinx. I thank the good people of Oyo State for the confidence reposed in me by voting for me en masse for the second term in spite of innuendoes, evil machinations and falsehood by our opponents

“Today’s judgment has strengthened my belief in the judiciary as the bastion of our fragile democracy and the bulwark of good governance.

“The judgment is not only a victory for my party, the All Progressives Congress, but also a victory for democracy and the rule of law. The road has not been smooth and it has been long but events have been encouraging and it goes to show that our faith has not been misplaced.”

Ajimobi, who pledged not to betray the confidence reposed in him by the people of the state, said he remained the “coordinating servant’’ of those seeking the progress and prosperity of the state.

While thanking the tribunal for doing a thorough job, he said that the thoroughness and industry put into the writing and delivery of the judgment was highly noteworthy after painstakingly poring through stacks of documents.

The governor said that from the outset, he was confident that he would emerge victorious, saying that the governorship election in the state was one of the most credible elections conducted on April 11.

He, however, thanked the opposition for bringing out the best in him, saying if they had not taken him to court, all doubts might not have been erased about the credibility, freeness and fairness of the election that earned him a second term.

Reaching out to the opposition, he said “They should rather join hands with us to move Oyo State forward. I am taking this opportunity to call on all my brothers – Senator Ladoja is my egbon (brother) – that contested the election with me that we should move away from innuendoes. We must stop seeing Oyo State as a big village. We must move away from pedestrian politics and treat the state as a force to reckon with in the comity of civilised states.”

According to him, every citizen of the state, including his opponents, should be in the vanguard of taking Oyo State to higher pedestal, because the state is bigger than anybody.

In the unanimous judgment read by the Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Mohammed Mayaki, the tribunal holds that Ladoja and Accord “failed woefully” to prove their allegations of rigging, electoral malpractices, violence and non-compliance with the Electoral Act among others, beyond reasonable doubt.

Delivery of the judgment lasted for four and a half hours.

The tribunal resolved all the issues determined in favour of Ajimobi.

It rejected the evidences presented by all Ladoja’s witnesses, saying they were not specific to incidents as claimed as well as failed to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt.