BREAKING: Appeal Court Nullifies Adeleke’s Victory
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has set aside the judgement of the Osun State Governorship tribunal which nullified the election of Governor Gboyega Oyetola
In her lead Judgement, Justice Hannatu Sankey set aside the entire proceedings of the tribunal because of the “faulty composition” of the tribunal.
She added that ordinarily the matter should be returned to the lower Tribunal but because it was a post-election matter where time cannot be expanded or elongated, the court cannot make an order of retrial.
Justice Sankey also resolved the remaining 11 issues in the appeal in favour of the appellant who is the Osun State governor.
According to her, the petitioner did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was substantial non-compliance to the Electoral Act by the absence of the ballot paper records.
The judge, therefore, set aside the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal delivered on March 22, returning Senator Ademola Adeleke as the governor of Osun State.
She made no order as to cost.
The judgement was upheld by four of the five justices of the panel.
While there were four majority judgements upholding the appeal of Governor Oyetola, while Justice George Mbanmba gave a dissenting judgement.
Recall that the five-man appeal panel had on April 24 heard the three appeals and a cross-appeal filed in relation to the election and reserved its judgments.
At the hearing on April 24, Governor Oyetola, the APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC urged the court to upturn the March 22, 2019 majority judgment of the state governorship election petitions tribunal, which nullified the governor’s victory.
But the PDP and its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, who were declared the winner of the election by the tribunal, urged the Court of Appeal to affirm the tribunal’s judgment.
INEC had declared Oyetola and the APC the winner of election on the basis of the cumulative results of the September 22, 2018 main election and the September 27, 2018 supplementary poll.
Dissatisfied with the result declared by INEC, the PDP and Adeleke had filed their petitions before the three-man Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, contending that they were the true winners of the election as they had already won after the September 22, 2018 poll and that there was no need for the supplementary election.
The tribunal, in its March 22, 2019 split judgment of two-to-one, nullified Oyetola’s victory and declared Adeleke and the PDP the winner of the election.
The tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, in his minority judgment, dissented from the majority judgment credited to Justices Peter Obiorah and Adegboye Gbolagunte.
Oyetola, the APC and INEC had filed separate appeals challenging the majority judgment.
Though there is no disclosure of Adeleke’s next line of action at the time of filing this report, it is expected that he will challenge the judgment at the Supreme Court.