The judgement will determine the legal occupant of the governor’s seat between Governor Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on September 27, 2018, declared Oyetola as the winner of the Osun governorship election. The full result was finally declared after a supplementary election in four local government areas of the state where the exercise had been cancelled but later declared to be re-run. Senator Adeleke, however, filed a petition at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo to challenge Oyetola’s victory.
Adeleke claimed he polled the highest number of votes in the election and asked the tribunal to cancel Oyetola’s victory and declare him the winner of the election. The tribunal in its March 22 ruling declared Adeleke as the winner of the governorship election. The tribunal said Adeleke won the election at the first
ballot on September 22 and the rerun that INEC devised to reach a final conclusion a week later was illegal. However, on May 9, the five-member panel of the appeal court upheld the victory of Oyetola as Osun state governor. Adeleke thereafter took the matter to the Supreme Court for final legal redress. As the apex gives the final verdict today, Friday, July 5,.
Justices Muhammad, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amiru Sanusi, and Uwani Abba-Aji, consented to Justice Rhodes-Vivour’s majority judgment.
They held that a member of the tribunal, Justice Peter Obiorah, was absent from the proceedings of February 6, 2019, but went ahead to deliver the lead majority judgment of the tribunal when he was not available to watch the demeanour of the witnesses who testified that day.
They added that Justice Obiora’s absence at the said proceedings had rendered the entire proceedings of the tribunal including the tribunal’s lead judgment which he authored, declaring Adeleke and the PDP the winner of the poll was a nullity.
But Justices Kumai Akaahs and Paul Galinje dissented by declaring Adeleke as the true winner of the September 2018 poll.
They held that the conclusion that Justice Obiora did not participate in the February 6, 2019 proceedings of the tribunal “was based on conjecture” or at best “a well-articulated speculation”.
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