The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Thursday, upheld the election of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, even as it nullified the tribunal judgment that declared Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as valid winner of governorship election that held in the state in September, 2018.
The appellate court, in a four-to-one decision, held that the entire proceedings of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, including its judgment, amounted to a nullity.
Justice Jummai Sankey who read the lead judgment of the appellate court, said it was wrong for a member of the tribunal panel, Justice Peter Obiora, who did not attend the entire proceedings of the tribunal, to deliver the majority judgment that sacked Oyetola from office.
The court noted that the 180 days allowed by the constitution for hearing of governorship election petition cases had elapsed.
Consequently, though Justice Sankey declined to give full details of her judgment, in her final analysis, she held that the petition Adeleke’s lodged before the tribunal was incompetent, including reliefs he sought therein.
She held that both PDP and its candidate failed to prove their allegation that the September 27 re-run election that led to Oyetola’s emergence, was characterized by irregularities and over-voting.
The court further held that the 1st and 2nd Respondents, Adeleke and PDP, also failed to prove that the re-run election was conducted with substantial noncompliance to the Electoral Act.
It held that the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to produce the ballot papers and record of accreditation to disprove allegations in the petition, did not substantially affect result of the election.
However, the court disagreed with Oyetola’s contention that Adeleke’s petition against his election was statues barred.
Out of 12 issues Justice Sankey highlighted, she only resolved two in Adeleke’s favour.
“The appeal succeeds, accordingly, I allow the appeal and set-aside the decision of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
” I make no order as to cost “, Justice Sankey held.