A’Court reserves judgment in Adeleke’s suit

Court of Appeal, Abuja, yesterday, reserved judgment in an appeal filed by Governor 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 M. F. Shuaibu, after listening to counsel to Adeleke, Onyechi Ikpeazu, and Lateef Fagbemi, who appeared for the immediate-past governors, Gboyega Oyetola, said judgment would be delivered at a later date.

Adeleke is the appellant while Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are 1st and 2nd 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 4th respondents respectively.

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

The appellant 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.

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

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.

It was gathered that INEC, in its earlier results, said Oyetola won in 13 councils 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 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 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 Fagbemi and Akin Olujimi as their lead counsel.

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

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