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Supreme Court declares Oyetola as validly elected governor of Osun

By Olawale Oyegbade, The Nigerian Voice S/W Bureau Chief

The Apex court in Nigeria today declared the candidate of All Progressive Congress in the last year gubernatorial election in the state, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola as the winner of the election.

Oyetola defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke that dragged hin to court over the result of the election declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in favour of Oyetola.

The Supreme Court dismissed Adeleke's cross appeal of and declared Oyetola as the validly elected governor.

The Election Petition Tribunal initially declared Adeleke as the winner but the decision of the tribunal was upturned by the Appeal Court. Adeleke moved to the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Appeal Court.

In the cross appeal, Adeleke contended that the appellate court erred when it dismissed its appeal challenging the improper ballot counting which cost it 3, 402 and 379 votes in 23 polling units.

However, the Supreme Court in a lead judgment delivered by Justice Uwani Abba-Aji said Adeleke's appeal lacks foundation since the lead appeal has been dismissed on the basis of improper composition of the tribunal.

The Supreme Court said “It is now settled that a judgement delivered by a panel where one of them did not hear the argument nor was he present at the hearing is a nullity,” she said.

The Acting CJN Justice Tanko Muhammad, Justices Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Amiru Sanusi, and Kekere-Ekun agreed with the judgement.

But Justices Adamu Galinje and Kumai Akaahs dissented to the lead judgment and declared PDP winner of the election.

Justice Akaahs criticised INEC’s decision to rely on its manual rather than the country’s Constitution to order a rerun.

“INEC has always used this inconclusive elections to do what it wants to do, and I don’t think that should continue,” he said.

“The first appellant (PDP), which met the constitutional provision of having the highest number of votes and has the required spread in two-third of the local governments ought to be declared winner of the election”, Justice Akaahs said.