Hon. Ladi Adebutu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State, has been charged by the Federal Government, represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation. The charges against Adebutu include allegations of vote-buying, conspiracy, bribery, and money laundering. Zenith Bank Plc and its Managing Director, Dr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, are also facing charges in connection with the case.
Earlier this year, Abdullahi Sanusi, the Ogun State chairperson of the All Progressives Congress, lodged a petition with the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba. The petition accused Adebutu of distributing ATM cards preloaded with N10,000 to buy votes at polling booths during the election. Despite his efforts, Adebutu ultimately lost the election, securing 262,383 votes and finishing second to Governor Dapo Abiodun of the APC, who received 276,298 votes. Adebutu has since filed a petition with the election petition tribunal to contest Mr Abiodun’s victory.
The charge sheet filed at the High Court of Ogun State, Abeokuta Division, lists Adebutu and several others, including Ogunbona Hammed, Tiamiyu Waliu, Egunsola Owolabi, Sanni Adegoke, Hon Dare Lukman Ogunleye, Dayo Fasina, Wasiu Enilolobo, and Malik Badmus. The Federal Government is prosecuting them on four counts, namely one count of criminal conspiracy (contrary to Section 121 of the Electoral Act, 2022), bribery (contrary to Section 121 of the Electoral Act, 2022), and two counts of undue influence (contrary to Section 127 of the Electoral Act, 2022).