OSUN GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION: Supreme Court to Deliver Judgment on July 5
– Kolapo Ayobamidele, ABH Press
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has fixed July 5 to deliver its judgment on the September 2018 Osun State gubernatorial election.
The apex court made the decision on Monday when it resumed hearing the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate at the election, Ademola Adeleke. The appellants had approached the apex court to challenge the May 9 majority decision of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which affirmed Governor Adegboyega Oyetola as the winner of the election.
Recall that there was a re-run election conducted in parts of the state on September 27, 2018 after which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Oyetola as the winner of the election. This occurred following the first ballot on September 22, of which the result was declared inconclusive. This led to Adeleke and the Peoples Democratic Party filing a petition, praying for an order nullifying the re-run election and declaring them as the winner.
The Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on March 22, 2019 said that the re-run election organized by INEC was illegal and declared Adeleke the winner of the elections. The three-member panel, in a split decision of two-to-one declared the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate the winner of the elections.
However, on May 9, 2019, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, in a four-to-one split decision of its five-member panel, nullified the Tribunal’s decision. The panel, led by Justice Jummai Sankey, affirmed Oyetola’s victory at the polls.
At the hearing on Monday, Adeleke’s lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), prayed the apex court to uphold his client’s appeal and the ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal that pronounced Adeleke as the legal winner of the election, and discard the judgment by the appeal court.
But Oyetola’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The counsel for the All Progressives Congress, Olumide Olujinmi, and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Yusuf Ali (SAN) also urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal and retain Oyetola as the governor.
A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court headed by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, adjourned sitting on the matter until July 5 for judgment. Other members of the panel are Justice Kumai Akaahs, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Justice Amiru Sanusi, Justice Paul Galinje and Justice Uwani Abba-Aji.