All Nigeria Latest News reports that the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has set aside the decision of the Osun State Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal.
In the judgment of the appeal filed by Adeleke on Friday, a three-member panel of justices declared that the election tribunal made an error by concluding that the 1st and 2nd respondents (Gboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress) substantiated their claim of over-voting.
The panel of judges, in their verdict on Friday, affirmed that Adeleke is the rightfully elected governor of the state.
In January, the Osun governorship election tribunal determined that Oyetola successfully demonstrated the occurrence of over-voting in certain polling units.
As a result, the majority judgment of the tribunal instructed INEC to retract the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and issue a new one to Oyetola, recognizing him as the legitimately elected governor of Osun.
Adeleke, displeased with the ruling, filed an appeal challenging the judgment at the Court of Appeal.
In his appeal, Adeleke contended that there was no majority judgment, asserting that the second judge on the panel, Rabi Bashir, did not provide her opinion as mandated by section 294(2) of the constitution.
He also challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to preside over the petition on the grounds that it failed to consider the preliminary objection he filed against the petitioners.
Muhammed Shuaibu, leading the appellate court panel, stated in the judgment that the signature of the second judge on the tribunal’s document indicated her agreement with the lead judgment.
He said there is no law that mandates the judge to write a separate opinion.
On the second issue of jurisdiction, the appellate court held that although the law allows the tribunal suspend decisions on preliminary objections until the end of the matter, the Osun governorship tribunal failed to show in writing that it considered Adeleke’s preliminary objection in its merit.
Consequently, the issue of jurisdiction was resolved in favour of the appellant.
On issue four, the court of appeal faulted the tribunal for rejecting some of Adeleke’s exhibits marked 2RRW4 (which consists of his certificates) on the grounds of forgery.
The court held that the issue of forgery against Adeleke has been resolved and dismissed by a superior court.
On issues five and seven which borders on over-voting, the appeal court held that the respondents failed to prove their allegation of over-voting.
The court further held that the tribunal was wrong to have relied only on the table showing over-voting provided by Oyetola and the APC without giving due consideration to INEC’s voter register.
The respondents, according to the appeal court, failed to tender the BVAS machines or call witnesses and experts to testify on over-voting.
On the issue of bias, the court held that although the tribunal’s comments on the appellant’s (Adeleke) proclivity for dancing and particularly the Buga song, is “unwarranted and condemnable”, it does not in any way prove bias against the appellant.
Overall, Adeleke’s appeal was granted, and the court imposed a fine of N500,000 in favor of the governor.