A group, Ogun Integrity Vanguard (OIV), has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State, Honourable Oladipupo Adebutu, to present himself for trial instead of writing frivolous petitions to the police over his vote buying scandal.
According to OIV, it is disturbing that after the Federal Government had investigated their vote buying plot and charged them to court, Adebutu and some accused members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State are now writing petitions to the Inspector General of Police ( IGP), Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, asking him to investigate Governor Dapo Abiodun and the All Progressives Congress (APC) for vote buying too.
The group made its position known in a statement signed by its secretary, Duro Thomas, and made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Monday.
Thomas said: “It is common knowledge that following their alleged role in facilitating vote buying during the March 18 governorship polls in Ogun State, the Federal Government charged Hon Ladi Adebutu and a leading Deposit Money Bank, Zenith Bank Plc, together with its Managing Director, Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, to court for conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.
“The charges, which were filed by the Director, Public Prosecutions of the Federation, M.B Abubakar; the Assistant Chief State Counsel, Aderonke Imana and Senior State Counsel, Bagudu Sani, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, detailed how Adebutu and the co-accused “on or about 18th of March at Ibara, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire among yourselves to corruptly give gifts in form of verve prepaid cards which had inscribed on them ‘Dame Caroline Oladuni Adebutu Memorial Endorsement Scheme for Less Privileged’ in order to induce voters to endeavour the return of PDP candidates during the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections in Ogun State.
“Adebutu was further accused of providing 200,000 prepaid verve cards loaded with N10,000 each and inscribed with the same name “for the purpose of corruptly influencing voters to vote for PDP candidates” during the said elections.
“Given these incontrovertible facts, it is laughable that these people are desperately trying to push a counter narrative too late in the day. Pray,, when did they realize that APC loaded cards to buy votes? There is nothing like that in the Petition they filed.”
According to Thomas, when the PDP candidate took Governor Dapo Abiodun to the Ogun Election Petitions Tribunal over the outcome of the March 18 polls, he never pleaded vote buying by Abiodun and APC as one of the grounds of his appeal. His pleadings alleging corrupt practices at the elections are contained at paragraphs 79 to 82 of the Petition. There is no mention of vote buying by the APC!
He added that it is trite law that in an election case, as indeed all civil cases, parties are bound by their pleadings and the court is not a Father Christmas that would grant them what they never pleaded for.
He stated that since Adebutu never took Abiodun to court for either ballot snatching or vote buying, he could not lead evidence on it, adding that this is settled law.
He said: “Adebutu’s pleading is that he won election, that votes were cancelled where he won, and that Governor Abiodun’s margin of victory was slim; he cannot make a 360-degree turn now and ask for something else.
“On the contrary, Dapo Abiodun and APC in their deposition mentioned his illegally acquire votes and vote buying plot through Verve cards to manipulate the electoral process, and the fact that suspects arrested by the Nigeria Police, NSCDC and NDLEA made confessional statements that indicted the PDP candidate.
“Strangely, Adebutu has now woken up after election to spew balderdash with a view to diverting attention away from himself.
“He was invited by the police but he has been on the run. Now he wants the same police to act on his behalf by going after his perceived enemies based on trumped up charges. How logical is that?
“He should realize that he cannot run away from the law forever, cciting non-existent threat to life, He should present himself for trial without delay.”