…As Dissenting Judgement Insists on Adeleke’s Victory, Awards Cost Against Oyetola The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja nullified the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke at the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. Delivering judgement on the appeal filed by the Governor of Osun State, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, challenging the declaration of Adeleke as
…As Dissenting Judgement Insists on Adeleke’s Victory, Awards Cost Against Oyetola
The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja nullified the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke at the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Delivering judgement on the appeal filed by the Governor of Osun State, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, challenging the declaration of Adeleke as the duly elected Governor, by the State Election Petition Tribunal, the.appellate court also set aside the judgement of the tribunal of March 22, which declared Mr Adeleke winner of the election.
A five-member panel of the appeal court led by Justice Jummai Sankey delivered the judgement with three members of the panel agreeing with the lead judgement.
The three other judges in agreement with the lead judgement read by Sankey are Justice Abubakar Yahaya, Justice Isaiah Akeju, and Justice Bitrus Sanga. A panel member, Justice George Mbaba, however gave a dissenting judgement.
Mr Adeleke contested the governorship election on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while Oyetola was the All Progressive Congress governorship candidate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission declared Mr Oyetola winner after a supplementary poll but the tribunal said Mr Oyetola won the election at the first ballot.
Specifically, Governor Oyetola faulted the judgment as unknown to the law because Justice Peter Obiorah who prepared and read the lead judgement did not participate fully during the hearing of the petition.
Mr Oyetola whose appeal was first heard by the Court of Appeal drew the attention of the court to the February 6 proceedings in which Mr Obiorah was absent at the tribunal and did not sign the proceeding of that day.
The appellant contended that what Mr Obiorah did amounted to judicial hear-say because the proceedings of February 6 when he was not in court was copiously copied in his lead judgement.
Insisting that judicial hearsay has no place in law, Mr Oyetola asked the appeal court to quash the judgement, allow the appeal and uphold the governorship election.
On his part, the counsel to APC, Akin Olujinmi, also faulted the judgment of the tribunal led by Ibrahim Sirajo, on the ground that the petition was based on the rerun election of September 27, 2018.
In his dissenting judgment, Justice Mbaba disagreed that Justice Obiora did not not attend the proceedings of February 2.
He said the allegation that Justice Obiora did not sit is a well-articulated speculation.
According to Justice Mbaba, he resolved issues 1 to 4 in favour of Mr Adeleke and the PDP..
He therefore, dismissed the appeal and awarded a cost of N200,000 against the appellant, Mr Oyetola.
Governor Oyetola has described the Appeal Court judgement affirming his election on Thursday as the triumph of truth over falsehood.
In a statement shortly after the judgement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Adeniyi Adesina, Oyetola said the ruling validated the mandate Osun voters gave him on September 22 and 27, 2018.
The governor said: “We give praise to Almighty God for today’s victory at the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.
“The victory has validated the mandate you freely gave to us on September 22 and 27, 2018. You spoke with conviction; your voice and choice are clear to the world, and the Judiciary, the last hope of the people and arbiter of the truth, has proved to the world that it is always on the side of justice.”
He went on: “After months of uncertainty and wait in judicial wilderness, truth has finally prevailed over falsehood and the voice of the majority has ultimately gained dominance over the phoney manipulation of an unscrupulous minority.”
“This victory has proved to all and sundry that there is a limit to the extent falsehood and propaganda can thrive over truth and the will of the people.”
“I would like to thank you all, the good people of The State of Osun, for your robust support and steadfastness throughout the needless periods of political travail and tribulation.”
“I am persuaded by your indisputable mandate and the sound judgment of the Court of Appeal, that the road to ultimate victory is smooth and unshakable.”
“My Administration took off on a note of equitable and quality service delivery to you the people. That resolve is on course. I urge you all to be peaceful and to go about your legitimate businesses as we revel in this well-deserved victory,” Oyetola said.
In his reaction, Senator Adeleke, said he had instructed his counsels to challenge the appeal court judgement which upheld Governor Oyetola’s election at the Supreme Court.
Adeleke, in a statement made available to newsmen in Osogbo on Thursday said he received the appeal court judgement with dissatisfaction.
According to him, the judgment of the appeal court relied on weak technical foundation, while the substantive issue which formed the basis of the lower tribunal judgement was relegated to the background.
“I received with dissatisfaction the judgement of the Court of Appeal on the ruling of the election petition tribunal which had duly returned me as the validly elected governor of Osun state. I have subsequently instructed my counsel to prepare for an appeal against today’s judgement at the Supreme Court immediately.”
“Today’s judgement relied on weak technical foundation. The substantive issue which formed the basis of the lower tribunal judgement was relegated to the background. We are reviewing the full ruling and action has already commenced to appeal the judgement and ensure the eventual retrieval of the stolen mandate,” Adeleke said.
He, however, urged the people of the state not to be downcast, saying that the struggle for good governance and retrieval of the people’s mandate cannot be truncated by any flawed judgement.
“We are taking the legal battle further to the topmost court in the land. I am confident the apex court will upturn today’s unsustainable ruling. To all members of PDP in Osun State and my campaign organisation, the struggle is now at the most critical stage.”
“We cannot waiver nor slow down. We must forge ahead in high spirit until final victory is attained. In this endeavour, I promise to provide the leadership as the genuine governorship mandate holder in Osun State,” Adeleke said.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has also vowed to challenge the verdict of the Court of Appeal
In a statement by its spokesman, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, vowed that Adeleke and the PDP will challenge the judgement of the Appeal Court at the Supreme Court.
The party said it’s not in any way shaken by the judgment of the Court of Appeal, but rather stands with Nigerians in the confidence that justice and respect for the will of the people of Osun state will definitely prevail at the apex court
The party insisted that it will not allow the will of the people, which it claimed was given to Senator Adeleke by the people of Osun, to be lost, noting that the fact the Court of Appeal had a split judgment indicated that justice was not fully served at the appellate court.
The statement continued, “It is instructive to state that the Court of Appeal did not contest or invalidate the fact that Senator Adeleke won the election but only cited technicalities and speculations to arrive at its decision.”
The PDP also observed that “the Court of Appeal failed to act on the full and substantial import of the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the ballot papers and record of accreditation to disprove our position that INEC altered results and subverted the will of the people of Osun State.”
“Our party and candidate are therefore confident that the Supreme Court will look at the merit of the matter and ensure that justice is served by recognising Senator Ademola Adeleke as Osun State Governor,” the PDP said.