Abuja March 23, 2019
The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has declared Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party as winner of the September 2018 election in the state.
The 3-man tribunal upheld the petitions filed by Adeleke and the PDP, challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Gboyega Oyetola at the September 2018 governorship election.
The tribunal had earlier dismissed the objections of the APC and Oyetola. It said Adeleke’s petition has merit. The tribunal also declared the rerun election as illegal.
NAN reports that the PDP and Adeleke, had filed a petition asking the tribunal to declare that he polled the highest lawful votes and should be declared the winner.
But Oyetola, APC and INEC had filed their notices of preliminary objection contending among others that the petition was incompetent and that the court lacked jurisdiction.
A three -member panel of the tribunal , dismissed the objections filed by Gov. Oyetola, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Both Adeleke and the PDP in their different petitions had urged the tribunal to declare that he scored the highest lawful votes in the election and should be declared as winner.
However, Oyetola, APC and INEC filed their notices of preliminary objection against the petition on the grounds that the petition is incompetent adding that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition.
Delivering the lead ruling of the three-man tribunal, Chairman Ibrahim Sirajo, held that the objections were misconceived and struck them out.
The Tribunal held that the CTC should and must be an exact replica of the EC8A pink copies.
The discrepancies must therefore be explained and justified by INEC.
In this instance, the tribunal held, INEC failed to explain nor justify the alterations and that they failed to call any witness to justify the alterations.
The tribunal held that the attempt to explain the alterations on the basis of mere corrections of errors is not acceptable and the fact that the said errors were consistently made in the disputed areas means it was a deliberate action taken.
It is expected that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Oyetola will challenge the Tribunal’s ruling at the Appeal Court, but pending such challenge and the ruling of the Appeal Court, the present situation means that APC has effectively lost two states in the South West geo-political zone of the country, the other being Oyo State where the PDP candidate has been declared Governor-Elect.
This will also be seen as a further shrinking of the political power base or sphere of influence of the ‘strong man’ of South West politics, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Senator Tinubu, literally, installed the immediate past governor of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was his Commissioner for Works when he (Tinubu) was Governor of the Lagos State. He also, practically, enthroned Oyetola, who is said to be his relation as governor before before the recent turn of events.
Reacting to the ruling, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, a Lagos-based lawyer and past President of Aka Ikenga wrote on facebook, “I will say that justice was not only done but was seen to have been done! The Osun matter is in the public domain. The average person in the society saw a brazen display of impunity. The voting public in Osun voted in a way the powers that be did not expect. So all caution was thrown to the wind in order to obtain a questionable victory. I am glad that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man ! The will of the people must be respected.”
Also reacting, Nigeria’s opposition coalition, CUPP, said it “received with joy the news of the declaration of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the winner of the Osun State governorship election by the Osun Governorship Election Petition Tribunal few hours ago.
“The CUPP sees the judgement of the tribunal as victory for democracy and and affirmation of the supremacy of the sanctity of the ballot.
“The tribunal has given hope to Nigerians with this courageous decision to sack the impostor governor who was foisted on the people of Osun State through the barrel of the gun instead of the ballot.
“The rampaging electoral robbery of the Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progresives Congress is beginning to crumble in their face with the determination of the judiciary to stand firm, despite monetary inducements and threats.
“Today’s judgement has reinforced the hope of the opposition that there are still men and women on the bench who, even in the face of rampage to destroy the judiciary, can still stand firm and do the right thing.
We are hopeful that the Appeal Court and Supreme Court judges will be bold enough to send the 2019 mandate thieves out of office when the time comes.
The Opposition has sent a huge congratulations to the Osun Governor-elect, His Excellency Senator Ademola Adeleke, and urge the Tinubu-imposed usurper of the governorship office to save Osun people the pains of any appeal and move out of Government House, so that the
people’s governor-elect can be sworn in without waiting for outcome of any appeal which the impostors will still lose as no court in Nigeria can legitimise a stolen mandate.”