By Oluwatosin Adebowale
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has set aside the decision of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
The Court upheld the election of Senator Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the July 16 governorship election in the State.
The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had earlier sacked Governor Adeleke and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to him.
It also ordered the INEC to issue a fresh Certificate of Return to Oyetola, as the duly elected Governor of Osun, insisting that Adeleke did not score the majority lawful votes, during the July 16 election in the state.
However, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel-led by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu, the Court of Appeal quashed the tribunal’s judgement and upheld Adeleke as the rightful Governor of Osun State.
The panel also revoked the tribunal’s order, which directed INEC to withdrawn the Certificate of Return from Adeleke and issued to former Governor, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The three-man panel held that the State Tribunal was wrong to have ruled that there was over voting, a claim that only relied on the evidence of Oyetola and the APC, and as such, does not prove their case in any way.
They faulted Oyetola and APC, that they only relied on the data from the back end server and failed to look at the voters register, which forms the foundation of the whole electoral process and as such, cannot strengthen their allegations of over voting.
The Court resolved in favour of Adeleke, on the issue of jurisdiction, insisting that according to Section 285(8) of the constitution, as amended, the Court has every right to entertain the appeal.
Adeleke had won the election with a total votes of 403,371, while the former Governor, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, polled 375,027 votes, to come second.