By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
The Appeal Court has reserved judgement on the Osun State 2022 governorship election appeal case.
National Watch reported earlier that the state Governor, Ademola Adeleke, is appealing the ruling of the governorship tribunal, which declared the former governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola as the authentic winner of the July 16 governorship election in the state.
While delivering judgement earlier, the Tribunal member panel held that Oyetola proved that there was over-voting in some of the polling units, a verdict swiftly rejected by Adeleke.
The elected Governor described the court’s verdict as a “miscarriage of justice” and subsequently filed an appeal before the Akure division of the Court of Appeal.
Adeleke in the 31 grounds of appeal he filed before the court, prayed for “an order setting aside the whole decision of the tribunal”.
The governor is equally seeking “an order striking out the petition for want of competence and jurisdiction or in the alternative, an order dismissing the petition on the merit”.
“The second respondent cannot ‘go lo lo lo lo’ and ‘buga won’ as the duly elected governor of Osun state.”
According to the case file, “The tribunal, in its judgment, erred in law and displayed bias against the appellant when it made reference to the appellant’s dance at his inauguration as governor of Osun state, which was never an issue before the lower tribunal.
“By referring to the appellant’s personal eccentricity for dancing, the lower tribunal derided and mocked him in a manner suggesting that it was biased against him.
“The appearance of bias manifests in reference to the Appellant’s proclivity for dancing, particularly the Buga song, has rendered the decision of the lower Tribunal a nullity.
“The tribunal in its judgment erred in law in returning the 1st respondent as the duly elected candidate without due regard to the enormity of the voters in the units where the results were cancelled for overvoting.”
Arguments By Counsels
At the court proceedings today, the Counsel to Adeleke (the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate), Onyechi Ikpeazu, held that a panel member, also a chief magistrate, did not air her opinion during the Judgement delivery.
Ikpeazu argued that the panel member only appended her signature, and the constitution mandates her to have aired her views about the suit.
On his part, Counsel to Oyetola (candidate of the All Progressives Congress – APC), Lateef Fagbemi, held that merely signing the judgment and not making any comment afterwards does not make the judgment invalid.
He noted that the case of over-voting exceeded six polling units, as claimed by the Appellant, adding that the anomaly was experienced in 744 polling units across the state.
After hearing the arguments and adopting the briefs of all concerned parties mentioned in the suit, the three-member panel led by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu fixed the date to decide on the matter.