What Appeal Court should do to Adeleke – Oyetola

cabe oyetola and adeleke

By Taiye Agbaje/Edith Nwapi

Former Governor, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, asked the Court of Appeal, Abuja to declared Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun unqualified to have contested the July 16, 2022 poll in which he emerged as winner over alleged certificate forgery.

Oyetola, whose candidacy in the poll was affirmed by a tribunal, made the prayer in a cross appeal marked: CA/AK/EPT/GOV/03/2023 filed before the three-member panel headed by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 1st and 2nd cross appellants in the case are Oyetola and the APC respectively.

In the matter, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Adeleke and the PDP are the 1st to 3rd cross respondents respectively.

Adeleke had, in an appeal marked: CA/AK/EPT/GOV/01/2023, prayed the court to set aside the judgment of the Osun tribunal delivered on Jan. 27 which upturned his victory at the poll.

Adeleke, who dragged Oyetola, APC and INEC before the appellate court as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively, urged the panel to dismiss the tribunal’s judgment.

Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, who was counsel to Adeleke, challenged the decision of the tribunal which nullified the victory of his client in the governorship election.

Ikpeazu, argued that a member of the tribunal, who was also a chief magistrate, did not air her opinion during the judgement delivery.

Rather, he said she only appended her signature and that the constitution mandated her to have aired her views about the suit.

But Oyetola’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, disagreed with Ikpeazu.

The senior lawyer submitted that mere signing of the judgment, and not making any comment could not have rendered the judgment invalid.

He further argued that Justice Terste Kume, who headed the tribunal, in the open court, made a pronouncement while delivering the judgment using the expression, “We, members of the tribunal…,” to imply that the decision was unanimous.

He also argued that there was over-voting in 744 polling units across the state. Fagbemi urged the court to dismiss Adeleke’s appeal.

Arguing the cross appeal, Akin Olujimi, SAN, who appeared for Oyetola, prayed the court to declare Adeleke unqualified to have contested the election, in the first instance, over allegations bordering on certificate forgery.

INEC had, on July 17, 2022, declared Adeleke the winner of the governorship election conducted on July 16, 2022 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 Oyetola and his party, the APC, approached the court to challenge the victory on the grounds that there was over-voting and that Adeleke was not eligible to run at the time.

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

The panel led by Justice 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.

It, however, 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.

The tribunal, thus, ordered that Oyetola should be returned as governor of Osun State.


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