By Raymond Adebayo
March 13, 2023, 2:55 p.m.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Monday, commenced sitting in an appeal filed by Mr Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a judgment of the tribunal which invalidated his election as Governor of Osun State.
The three-member panel of justices began sitting in the appeal at about 10am.
While Adeleke is the appellant, Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are 1st and 2nd respondents in the appeal marked: CA/AK/EPT/GOV/01/2023.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the PDP are also joined as 3rd respondent and 4th respondent respectively.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had, on Jan. 27, voided the July 16, 2022 election that produced Adeleke of PDP as the elected governor.
INEC had declared Adeleke the winner of the election after polling a total of 403,371 votes.
He was said to have won in 17 of the 30 local government areas in the state.
But the panel led by Justice Terste Kume, in its judgment, invalidated the election and declared Mr Gboyega Oyetola of APC as the valid winner of the poll.
The tribunal directed INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and his deputy, Kola Adewusi, both of whom had been sworn in.
It, however, directed that the certificate of return should instead be issued to Oyetola.
Justice Kume held that the governorship election was not held in compliance with Nigeria’s Electoral Act.
The tribunal also held that the governorship election was characterised by over-voting.
It said after deducting the excessive votes, the figure Oyetola polled at the election was 314, 921.
The tribunal, thus, ordered that Oyetola be returned as governor of Osun State.
INEC, in its earlier results, said Oyetola won in 13 LGAs with 375,027 votes in the July 16, 2022 governorship election.
In his petition, Oyetola, the immediate-past governor of the state, alleged that the election was characterised by over-voting in 749 polling units.
He also argued that Adeleke forged the academic credentials he submitted to INEC to contest for the election.
The tribunal commenced sitting in August 2022, a few weeks after the governorship election.
Oyetola and the APC were petitioners in the case with Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, and Akin Olujimi, SAN, as their lead counsel.