OSUN – The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the judgement of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the election of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A three–member panel of Justices of the Appellate court, in a judgement, found Adeleke’s appeal meritorious and allowed it.
Justice Mohamed Lawal Shuaibu, who prepared and delivered the judgement held that “This appeal is meritorious and it is hereby allowed. The judgement of the lower tribunal delivered on January 27, 2023, is hereby set aside”, the court held and awarded a cost of N500, 000 each against the first and second respondents.
Facts from the Appeal judgement:
1. Governor Ademola Adeleke did not forge any certificate.
2. Oyetola and APC did not proof any overvoting.
3. Oyetola’s witness is not an expert and his testimony barren.
4. A sum of #500,000 fine has been mandated on Oyetola for payment in favour of the Appellant.
5. Finally, the election of July 16th stands and remains valid, therefore, Senator Ademola Adeleke is the rightful Governor of Osun State.
All the 3 Judges are in unison agreed with this sound judgement.
Adeleke, and his party, had prayed the appellate court to set aside the verdict of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which sacked him from office.
It be recalled that Justice Tertsea Kume led a three-member panel tribunal, had on January 27, in a split decision of two-to-one, voided the declaration of Adeleke as winner of the governorship election held on July 16, 2022.
In the majority judgement, the tribunal upheld a petition filed by the former governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who came second in the election.
It held that Adeleke did not score the majority of lawful votes, adding that the conduct of the election was not in substantial compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to the tribunal, the petitioners, Oyetola and APC, successfully established that there was overvoting in 744 polling units in the state.
After deducting the said invalid votes, the tribunal declared Oyetola as winner of the governorship contest and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return it earlier issued to Adeleke.
However, in his dissenting judgement, the third member of the panel, Justice P. Agbuli, affirmed Adeleke as the valid winner of the election and struck out the petition that was lodged by Oyetola and the APC.
Dissatisfied with the majority decision that sacked him from office, governor Adeleke took the case before the Court of Appeal.