Gboyega Oyetola

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has fixed Wednesday for the hearing of the appeal filed by the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), against the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

Recall that the tribunal had on March 22, 2019, in a split decision declared Oyetola’s main rival in the September 2018 election in the state, Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the one validly elected as governor.

The tribunal also nullified the certificate of return issued to Oyetola and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a fresh one to Adeleke.

Reacting, Oyetola, in his 39-ground notice of appeal filed on March 26, 2019, urged the Court of Appeal to nullify the majority judgment, which he argued was perverse, replete with contradictions and not supported by evidence led by the petitioners.

The appellant, through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who filed the notice of appeal on his behalf, asked the Court of Appeal to uphold his appeal, and not only set aside the tribunal’s majority judgment but to also dismiss the October 16, 2018 petition by the PDP and Adeleke.

Faulting the majority judgment’s nullification of the September 27, 2018 supplementary election, the appellant stated, “Having rightly held that it lacked the jurisdiction to strike out and nullify the approved Guidelines and Regulations for the Conduct of the Osun State Governorship Election 2018, made by INEC, the tribunal misdirected itself in law and came to a perverse decision by going ahead to nullify the rerun election.”

He also contended, among others, that the majority judgment was a nullity on the basis that it was written by Justice Obiorah “who did not participate in all the proceedings of the tribunal and who was not present when all the witnesses gave evidence.”

The appellant noted that, nowhere in the entire petition, did Adeleke and the PDP complained about non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in relation to the September 22, 2018 election.

He faulted the decision of the tribunal to declare Adeleke and the PDP winner when the petitioners had admitted to have benefited from INEC’s alleged non-compliance with Electoral Act by INEC’s alleged failure to fill in some portions of the Forms EC8A (polling unit result sheets).

He maintained that if the tribunal had rightly upheld the allegations of non-compliance it only ought to order a rerun.

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