Osun: A’Court reserves judgement in Adeleke’s suit

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Monday, reserved judgement in an appeal filed by Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a judgement of the tribunal which invalidated his election as governor of Osun.

The three-member panel led by Justice M. F. Shuaibu, after listening to counsel to Adeleke, Onyechi Ikpeazu, and Lateef Fagbemi, who appeared for the immediate-past governor, Gboyega Oyetola, said judgement would be delivered at a later date.

While Adeleke is the appellant, Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are first and second respondents in the appeal marked: CA/AK/EPT/GOV/01/2023.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP are also joined as 3rd respondent and fourth respondents respectively.

However, INEC, represented by Paul Ananaba, and PDP, represented by Alex Iziyon, did not file any process in the case.

The appellate court is also expected to hear the appeal filed by the PDP, INEC and Oyetola’s cross appeal.

The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had, on January 27, voided the July 16, 2022 election that produced Adeleke of PDP as the elected governor.

INEC had declared Adeleke the winner of the election after polling a total of 403,371 votes.

He was said to have won in 17 of the 30 local government areas in the state.

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But the panel led by Justice Terste Kume, in its judgment, invalidated the election and declared Gboyega Oyetola of APC as the valid winner of the poll.

The tribunal directed INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and his deputy, Kola Adewusi, both of whom had been sworn in.

It, however, directed that the certificate of return should instead be issued to Oyetola.

Justice Kume held that the governorship election was not held in compliance with Nigeria’s Electoral Act.

The tribunal also held that the governorship election was characterised by over-voting.

The tribunal, thus, ordered that Oyetola should be returned as governor of Osun State.

INEC, in its earlier results, said Oyetola won in 13 LGAs with 375,027 votes in the July 16, 2022 governorship election. Fifteen candidates contested for the poll which was keenly contested between Adeleke and Oyetola.

In his petition, Oyetola, the immediate-past governor of the state, had alleged that the election was characterised by over-voting in 749 polling units.

He also argued that Adeleke forged the academic credentials he submitted to NEC to contest for the election.

The tribunal had commenced sitting in August 2022, a few weeks after the governorship election.

Oyetola and the APC were petitioners in the case with Lateef Fagbemi, and Akin Olujimi, as their lead counsel.

INEC was the 1st defendant, Adeleke the second defendant and PDP as third defendant. NAN