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Adeleke, Oyetola set for final battle

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,,,,The Court of Appeal on Friday confirmed Ademola Adeleke as the Osun State Governor. The matter is not yet over as the governor’s predecessor, Adegboyega Oyetola, is set to take the battle to the Supreme Court

The Friday judgement of the Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, which affirmed the victory of Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, in the July 16, 2022 governorship poll, to some followers of political events in the state, was not just another judicial pronouncement, but a pointer to an impending repeat of history.

,,,,,,,After taking over reign of the state as its sixth democratically elected governor, Adeleke and his supporters must have felt fulfilled, but they were not unaware of how slender the joy on their hands was, because of a case filed before an election petition tribunal, challenging his victory.

By the time Adeleke was settling down in office as governor, the trial of the petition instituted by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress at the poll, Adegboyega Oyetola, threatening to cut short the tenure of the new governor, was already in full swing.

But amidst fear and expectations among supporters of the two men, who have emerged as the two most valuable brands on the Osun political scene since 2018, Adeleke went ahead administering the state.

While just getting acquainted with his new status, Adeleke was told by Justice Tertsea Kume-led tribunal, to vacate office for Oyetola, who was said to have won the governorship poll.

,,,,,,In the January 27, 2023 judgement, Justice Kume, in the majority opinion of the panel, considered the plea of the petitioners, that over-voting occurred in 749 units, spread across 10 local government areas, during the poll.

After deducting votes recorded at the units where over-voting occurred, votes scored by the candidates reduced, as Oyetola’s votes came down to 314, 921, while Adeleke’s score shrank to 290, 266.

Kume subsequently declared Oyetola the winner of the poll, having scored the majority of the lawful votes, to the chagrin of supporters Adeleke, who took to the streets to protest the decision of the panel.

There was however a minority judgement by Justice B. Ogbuli, which dismissed Oyetola’s petition and affirmed Adeleke’s election.

,,,,,Days preceding Friday when the Court of Appeal gave its verdict, Adeleke and Oyetola’s supporters engaged in a fierce exchange of words on social media, and the two camps expressed hope of a good outing, pointing to the strength in their respective positions taken before the court.

Besides reinforcing its position that over-voting occurred during the governorship election that brought Adeleke to office, the APC legal team, also filed a cross-appeal, challenging the decision of the tribunal panel, that resolved the issue of alleged forgery of testimonial in favour of Adeleke.

But the PDP legal team raised the issue of bias against Adeleke by the Kume-led panel, noting the reference to Buga, a song by Kiss Daniel in the majority judgement, as an indication of dislike for Adeleke by the judges.

,,,,,,The team also insisted that over-voting which was held onto by the tribunal to give Oyetola victory was not established by the witnesses called, insisting that data on Bimolda Voters Accreditation System machines and the voter register, as well, as Form ECA8, should have been relied upon by the lower court, and not BVAS report of the INEC’s backend server.


(Punch)

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