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Osun Governorship: Appeal Court reserves judgment in Adeleke’s suit

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Monday, reserved judgment in an appeal filed by Mr Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a judgment 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, SAN, and Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, who appeared for the immediate-past governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, said judgment would be delivered at a later date.

While Adeleke is the appellant, Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively, in the appeal.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP are also joined as 3rd respondent and 4th respondent, respectively.

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

The appellant court is also expected to sit on the cross-appeals filed by PDP, INEC and Oyetola.

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

But the panel led by Justice Terste Kume, in its judgment, invalidated the election and declared Mr 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.

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It 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.

It said after deducting the excessive votes, the figure Oyetola polled at the election was 314, 921.

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

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

INEC was the 1st defendant, Adeleke was the 2nd defendant and PDP as the 3rd defendant. NAN

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