THE Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Ademola Adeleke as the governor of Osun State.
In a judgment delivered on Tuesday, May 9, a five-member panel of the apex court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal to reinstate Adeleke, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the governor of Osun State, following the earlier reversal of his victory by the election petition tribunal.
The Supreme Court, in the lead judgment written and delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, ruled that the appellants, former Osun State governor Gboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), failed to present any tangible evidence to support their claims of excessive voting and improper voter accreditation in the Osun State governorship election.
Justice Agim ruled that the appellants’ evidence, which omitted data from the 744 disputed polling units’ Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) equipment, could not be used as the primary repository for information about the accredited voters in the areas.
The court held that the appellants relied on a secondary, insufficient, and inadmissible method of proof by failing to present the genuine voter accreditation data from the BVAS.
The Supreme Court further held that the forensic expert who presented the appellants’ evidence was a member of the APC and an associate of Oyetola, who had a vested interest in his analysis.
The apex court maintained that the appellants had failed to establish the basis for their appeal.
Oyetola had approached the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal overturned his victory at the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and declared Adeleke the duly elected governor.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had on March 24 upheld Adeleke’s election as Osun State governor.
In a unanimous ruling delivered by Justice Mohammed Lawal, the appellate court determined that Adeleke’s appeal, which he filed to contest the nullification of his election by the Tribunal, was meritorious.
Delivering judgment in the appeal filed by Adeleke, a three-member panel of justices held that the election tribunal erred when it ruled that Oyetola and the APC proved their allegation of over-voting.
Ruling on allegations of forgery against Adeleke, the Court of Appeal held that the Tribunal is obliged to take cognisance of the decision that exonerated Adeleke of forgery, and as a result, resolved the case against the respondent.
The Court of Appeal thereby set aside the Tribunal’s judgment and awarded a cost of N500,000 against Oyetola and the APC.
The Osun Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had earlier ruled in favour of Oyetola on January 27.
Two out of the three-member panel held that Oyetola could prove that there was over-voting in some of the polling units during the gubernatorial poll.
Adeleke rejected the judgment, describing it as a miscarriage of justice and an unfair interpretation against the will of the majority of voters.
The PDP candidate headed to Court of Appeal and prayed for “an order setting aside the whole decision of the tribunal”.