Supreme Court to Deliver Verdict in Osun State Governorship Election Appeal
The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict tomorrow at 2 pm on the appeal filed by the former governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Abuja. The appeal affirmed Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the validly elected governor of Osun State.
The apex court on Monday scheduled the date and time to settle the legal dispute over the governorship seat of Osun State after the parties in the appeal adopted their written address and oral submissions in the matter.
Oyetola and his party filed the appeal numbered SC/CV/510/2023, asking the apex court to nullify the decision of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal that voided the judgment of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal. The tribunal had returned Oyetola as the winner of the July 16, 2022 governorship election.
It would be recalled that INEC had declared Adeleke as the winner of the election, having scored the majority of the votes cast. However, the tribunal held in a split judgment of two-to-one delivered in January that Oyetola, not Adeleke, won the majority of the lawful votes in the election.
Oyetola and APC argued that the appellate court wrongly declared as null and void the proceedings and judgement of the Osun state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. They also want the apex court to determine whether the lower court was right in concluding that they did not prove the allegation of overvoting in favor of Adeleke.
The Court of Appeal had set aside the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified Adeleke’s election. The court found Adeleke’s appeal meritorious and held that the lower tribunal was wrong to reach the conclusion that there was over-voting during the state governorship election held on July 16, 2022.
The appellate court awarded N500,000 cost against the APC and its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola. Similarly, the court dismissed the cross-appeal filed against the judgment of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal by former Osun Governor and his party.
The cross-appeal centered on the educational qualification of governor Adeleke and was thrown out for lacking merit.
It will be recalled that the Justice Tertsea Kume-led three-member panel tribunal had on January 27, in a split decision of two-to-one, voided the declaration of Adeleke as the winner of the governorship election. The tribunal upheld a petition filed by the former governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC, who came second in the election.
After deducting the said invalid votes, the tribunal declared Oyetola as the winner of the governorship contest and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return it earlier issued to Adeleke.
However, in his dissenting judgement, the third member of the panel, Justice P. Agbuli, affirmed Adeleke as the valid winner of the election and struck out the petition lodged by Oyetola and the APC. Dissatisfied with the majority decision that sacked him from office, Governor Adeleke took the case before the Court of Appeal.