Home Nigeria Appeal Court Reserves Judgment on Osun Governorship Election Appeal

Appeal Court Reserves Judgment on Osun Governorship Election Appeal

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Appeal Court
Appeal Court

By Uche Amunike

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, Monday, has reserved judgment on the Osun state governorship election appeal filed by Ademola Adeleke, challenging the decision of the election petition tribunal that nullified his victory in the Osun governorship polls.

The judgment will be given at a later date as a three-man panel headed by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu takes the arguments and adopts the submissions of all parties in the suit.

During the proceedings, Onyechi Ikpeazu, who is the Counsel to Adeleke, submitted that a Chief Magistrate, who is also a member of the panel did not air her views while the judgment was delivered. She only appended her signature, even though she is constitutionally mandated to have aired her views about the suit.

According to Lateef Fagbemi, Counsel to Oyetola, however, mere signing of the judgment and not saying anything afterwards does not determine the invalidity of the judgment.

He stated that the case of over voting exceeded 6 polling units according to the Appelant, adding that the same problem was experienced in 744 polling units across the state.

He also stated that the findings of over voting were gotten from the INEC back end server.

On his part, defense lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu submitted that results stored in the back end servers are unreliable and inconsistent as there is a likelihood that they can be affected by internet connectivity and battery life of the BVAs used to upload the result. He pressed that the two factors could affect the upload.

Counsel to Adeleke said that the physical examination he conducted on the BVAs showed that over voting only occurred on 6 polling units and not in 744 as claimed by Oyetola’s counsel.

Recall that Senator Adeleke won the said election held on July 16, 2022 under the aegis of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after which the result was nullified on the grounds of over voting. In February, he appealed the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Tribunal which nullified his election.

The tribunal ruled in favour of former governor Gboyega Oyetola as two, out of the three-man panel held that Oyetola showed proof that there was indeed over voting in some of the polling units.

This ruling was immediately rejected by Adeleke who described the ruling as a ‘miscarriage of Justice’. Weeks after that, the Osun governorship election appeal was filed by him, before the Akure division of the Court of Appeal.

He filed 31 grounds of appeal, Wednesday and made a plea for ‘an order setting aside the whole decision of the tribunal’.

 The governor further sought ‘an order striking out the petition for want of competence and jurisdiction or in the alternative, an order dismissing the petition on the merit’.

Hear him: ‘The second respondent cannot ‘go lo lo lo lo’ and ‘buga won’ as the duly elected governor of Osun state,” the governor said.

Adeleke noted: ‘The tribunal, in its judgment, erred in law and displayed bias against the appellant when it made reference to the appellant’s dance at his inauguration as governor of Osun state which was never an issue before the lower tribunal’.

‘By referring to the appellant’s personal eccentricity for dancing, the lower tribunal derided and mocked him in a manner suggesting that it was biased against him.’

‘The appearance of bias manifests in the reference to the Appellant’s proclivity for dancing and particularly the Buga song, has rendered the decision of the lower Tribunal a nullity’.

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