Supreme Court validates election of Oyetola as Osun State governor

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*Adeleke, Oyetola

Our fear for Supreme Court ruling in favour of PDP has been assuaged – APC

The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed Mr. Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the Osun governorship elections held on September 22 and 27, 2018.

The Osun State election petition tribunal had, on March 22, 2019, declared the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the election, Mr. Ademola Adeleke as the winner of the election.

But the Supreme Court, in a majority decision of five-to-two, affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal which nullified the March 22 judgement of the tribunal.

The judgement read by Justice Olabode Rodes-Vivour agreed substantially with the Court of Appeal which ruled that a majority judgement delivered at the tribunal was a nullity.

The court said Justice Peter Obiora who read the majority judgement at the tribunal, was evidently absent on February 6, following the documents before the court.

It Obiora’s failure to be present on that day meant that the tribunal lacked the authority to have given any judgment on the matter.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Osun APC, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, reacted to the ruling saying “our fears for the calamity that might have befallen the state of Osun, if the PDP had been declared winner, have now been assuaged.”

He said in a statement that “those who had wished for a different outcome have a lesson to learn here, that there is a natural limit to which you can stretch evil.

“It was this limit the PDP got in their attempt to stage a miraculous upset at last September’s election.

“And subsequent efforts to spin the law at the Tribunal unravelled in the Court of Appeal and finally died at the Supreme Court today.

“The details are now history” the APC said, adding that, “for good measure, this is not simply a victory for the party alone; it is a victory for the good people of the state of Osun.

“Providence has by this verdict put a stamp of approval on the exceptional developments achieved in the state during the last eight years.

“God also stopped the evil in its track that had planned to dismantle the hard earned human, social, economic, environmental and structural developments that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and his team established in the state of Osun.

“The thought of it was devilish in the first instance, but even more despicable was the arrogance with which the PDP went about town boasting that it would destroy everything that Aregbesola did in the state.

“But thank God, we are not mourning, neither are we mocking the opposition. We are simply telling them that now is the time to change and move on, to become a factor for good in Osun’s politics.

“We, in the APC and majority of the good people of Osun, will welcome any errant but repentant PDP politician, who sheds negativity and joins hands with us to transform further this wonderful state of Osun.

“May the good Lord give Governor Gboyega Oyetola the wisdom, strength and foresight to expand the legacy he inherited and set Osun on the irreversible course that God and the entire people of Osun will be proud of,” the APC asserted.

It would be recalled that Adeleke had filed a petition at the election tribunal to challenge Oyetola’s victory.

The main election was held on September 22 while a supplementary election was held on September 27 in seven polling units.

INEC had declared Oyetola as the winner of the election after the supplementary poll but Adeleke, who claimed he polled the highest number of votes in the election, asked the tribunal to invalidate Oyetola’s victory and declare him (Adeleke) as the winner.

The tribunal, in a split judgement of two-to-one ruled in Adeleke’s favour setting aside the re-run saying the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) was wrong to have ordered it.

It also ruled that INEC did not comply with its guidelines on results from 17 polling units.

The tribunal then deducted the results of both parties from the declared total number of votes in the affected 17 polling units.

The tribunal said the PDP candidate polled 254,698 votes, while the APC came second with 253,452 votes.

The tribunal also said the PDP would still have won the poll even if it had opted to validate the supplementary election.

But in a contrary opinion in May, the Court of Appeal ruled that “the tribunal was in patent error when it set aside the rerun.”

In a split decision of four to one, the court ruled that Obiora  who issued the majority decision at the tribunal was absent on February 6, 2019 when a major discussion on the issue of none-compliance was tabled before the tribunal and could therefore not have viewed the issue squarely.

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