Appeal Tribunal Reserves Judgment on Osun Gov Poll

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Osun State Election Appeal Tribunal Wednesday reserved judgment in the four appeals filed against the judgment of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal.

The five-man panel of justices of the appeal tribunal, Justice Jummai Sankey, said that the dates for judgment would be communicated to parties, shortly after counsel to parties adopted and argued their briefs of argument in the various suits.

With Justice Sankey presiding, other members of the appeal panel, which heard all the four appeals yesterday, were Justices Abubakar Yahaya, George Mbaba, Isaiah Akeju and Bitrus Sanga.

The first suit with number CA/A/EPT/246/2019, which was filed by Osun State Governor, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, has candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.

The second with number CA/A/EPT/256/2019, filed by the APC has Adeleke, PDP, INEC and Oyetola as 1st to 4th respondents.

While the third appeal filed by INEC and marked: CA/A/EPT/259/2019, has Adeleke, PDP, Oyetola and APC as respondents.

The fourth marked: CA/A/EPT/295/2019, filed by Adeleke has Oyetola, APC, INEC as respondents.
While the first three appeals are challenging the majority judgment of the tribunal, the fourth which is a cross appeal is seeking to upturn the dissenting and minority judgment of the tribunal.

Both Oyetola and Adeleke had appealed the judgment of the Osun tribunal on the governorship poll held on September 22, 2018 and the rerun therefore held on September 27, 2018.

The petition tribunal had in a split decision of two-one in its March 22, 2019, judgment, voided the election of Oyetola and the APC in the Osun governorship poll. It in addition ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Oyetola and issue a fresh one to Adeleke having won majority of the lawful votes cast at the poll.
Both Oyetola and Adeleke were present in court yesterday throughout the proceedings.

Oyetola and the APC in their appeals are asking the appeal tribunal to set aside the majority decision that nullified Oyetola’s victory and return Adeleke as the lawful winner of the poll, while Adeleke on the other hand is asking the tribunal to uphold his victory as declared by the tribunal and upturn the minority judgment, which had dismissed his petition for lacking merit.

INEC had declared Oyetola and the APC the winner of the Osun State governorship election on the basis of the cumulative results of the September 22, 2018, main election and the September 27, 2018, supplementary poll.

Dissatisfied with the result declared by INEC, the PDP and Adeleke had filed their petition before the three-man Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, contending that they were the true winners of the election as they had already won after the September 22, 2018 poll and that there was no need for the supplementary election held on September 27, 2018.

The tribunal, in its March 22, 2019, split judgment of two-to-one, nullified Oyetola’s victory and declared Adeleke and the PDP the winner of the election.

The tribunal’s chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, in his minority judgment, dissented from the majority judgment credited to Justices Peter Obiorah and Adegboye Gbolagunte.
Oyetola, APC and INEC had filed separate appeals challenging the majority judgment.