Adeleke wins at Supreme Court

Ogunsakin Mustapha
6 Min Read
Ademola Adeleke, Gov, Osun State

From Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja

The Supreme Court on Tuesday voided the petition filed a former governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola challenging the July 16, 2022 election of Senator Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke as governor of the state.

The Apex Court threw away the entire Petition on the ground that it was predicated on unfounded allegations and hearsays evidence that have no probate values.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, the Apex Court held that Oyetola who is the immediate past governor of Osun State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the poll failed woefully to discharge the onus placed on him in all his allegations.

Among others, the Supreme Court said that the allegations of improper accreditation of voters and over voting in 744 polling units across 10 Local Government Areas of the state were not only spurious but bereft of merit because of lack of cogent and verifiable evidence to establish the allegations.

The Court said that it was surprising that the petitioner, ( Oyetola) who laid the foundation of his case on over -voting neglected and failed to to produce the voter registers of the disputed polling 744 polling units to prove the allegation.

Besides, Justice Agim held that the former governor made a heavy weather on the Biomedia Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) as source of his claim of improper accreditation and over voting and yet failed to produce a single machine to support his allegation.

Instead, the Apex Court said that the petitioner resorted to the use of back end server to establish his case upon the discovery that it was impossible to back up allegations of over voting.

Justice Agim also said that Oyetola somersaulted when he engaged his own former Personal Assistant and member of the APC, dressed him as a forensic expert and presented him as a witness during the trial of the petition.

Ademola Adeleke, Gov, Osun State

The Apex Court held that Oyetola presented a tainted witness as an expert whose evidence goes to no where to support his cause of action.

To worsen the situation, Justice Agim held that the purported forensic expert admitted not having requisite background of what he was asked to do before the tribunal and instead relied on hearsays while giving evidence.

The Apex Court took a swipe at the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal for failure to determine the preliminary objection against the jurisdiction of the tribunal on various issues adding that it ended up denying respondents in the petition fair hearing.

In all, the Court said that the case of Oyetola and the evidence adduced failed the provisions of section 47 (2) of the Evidence Act and section 18 of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC Regulations.

The Apex Court subsequently resolved all issues in dispute against Oyetola and in favour of Adeleke and other respondents in the matter.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which had earlier nullified the findings of the Election Petition Tribunal and which also nullified the declaration of Adeleke as the elected governor was upheld.

Oyetola had in his appeal to the Supreme Court prayed the Apex Court to set aside the decision of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which voided the judgment of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal, which returned him as winner of the July 16, 2022 governorship election.

INEC had last year declared Adeleke as winner of the election having scored majority of the votes cast in the election, however the tribunal in its split judgment of two-to-one delivered in January, held that Oyetola and not Adeleke won majority of the lawful votes in the election.

According to the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Tertsea Kume, there were incidents of over voting in favour of Adeleke, which when deducted revealed that Oyetola polled 314,921 votes as against the incumbent’s 290,266.

The tribunal accordingly ordered the withdrawal of Certificate of Return issued to Adeleke and that a fresh one be issued Oyetola as the duly elected governor.

However, following Adeleke’s appeal in February, the appellate court’s 3- man panel in its own judgment by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu voided and set aside the decision of the tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal erred in holding that a case of over voting was established, consequent upon which Adeleke’s votes were deducted.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal setting aside the judgment of the tribunal and affirming Adeleke’s election as governor, prompted the current appeal before the Supreme Court.

The appeal filed on Oyetola’s behalf by his lead counsel, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, is marked: SC/ CV/510/2023 and SC/ CV/511/2023.

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