A lawyer of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Ogun State, Ladi Adebutu, Muyiwa Obanewa, has denied reports of the arraignment of this client on Monday before a high court in Abeokuta over alleged vote-buying.
Addressing journalists in Abeokuta on Tuesday, Obanewa said his client was yet to be served any notice of a suit filed against him.
According to him, arraignment does not take place unless the defendant had been duly served.
“It is not true that Adebutu had been docked. As we speak, he has not even been served, he is not even aware of it; and until you are aware and served with a court process, you cannot be alleged to have evaded the court. He has to be served before he can be arraigned,” the lawyer said.
It was reported on Monday that Adebutu was arraigned in absentia with nine others for allegedly involving in vote buying during the March 18 election.
The Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, pressed charges against Adebutu and others.
The suit followed a petition written by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun, Yemi Sanusi, and made available to the police.
Reacting, Obanewa said the case was politically motivated, saying it could not stand the test of time.
According to him, “only five of the 10 defendants were served and they appeared in court yesterday.”
He said the five that were in court pleaded not guilty and were granted bail “in very lenient terms,” in the sum of N100,000 and one surety.
This, he said, was to show that the charge was not a serious one, saying it has no leg to stand on.
The legal practitioner argued that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the power to sue an individual over matters of electoral offences.
“The duty to investigate electoral matters is that of INEC and not the Chairman of APC in Ogun State. We will meet them in court. We are waiting for the APC Chairman to even come and give evidence,” Obanewa added.
He explained that INEC, which is the only one that can initiate criminal prosecutions involving electoral offences, was not aware of the case and was not a party to it.
The Counsel, however, expressed his readiness to defend the defendants in the matter, stating that, “We are ready for the case. We have seen the proof of evidence, we have seen that purely it is political.”