TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

OSUN: Aregbesola to be sworn in @ 12 noon, Saturday

Listen to article understands that the new governor would be sworn into office by the state Chief Judge, Hon. Justice J.O. Bada at 12 noon on Saturday, 27 November 2010 at the Osun state Government House in Osogbo. This followed the judgement of the Federal Court of Appeal in Ibadan which declared Rauf Aregbesola of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) winner of the 2007 gubernatorial election in Osun State.

  The development, according to political pundits has put to rest the illegal governance of Gen. Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 2007. Prior to the judgement, the two sides had argued their briefs at the last sitting of the court on November 1 when the five-member appeal panel, led by Clara Ogunbiyi reserved judgement on the matter.

  t would be recalled that Oyinlola was appointed the military administrator of Lagos State from December, 1993 till August 1996, under the dictatorial reign of Late General Sani Abacha.

  Sequel to the illegitimate declaration of Oyinlola as winner of the 2007 election by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Engineer Aregbesola, a former Commissioner of works in Lagos State, went to court to challenge INEC's decision, which resulted in a legal tussle that lasted nearly four years. understands that the legal tussle between the 2007governorship candidate of the ACN in Osun State, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola and Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of PDP started shortly after the confirmation of the latter by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the elected governor of the state. The legal firework became intense that an Appeal Court sitting In Ibadan had to order a retrial of the petition and ordered the constitution of a new panel and held that the lower tribunal led by Honourable Justice Thomas Naron erred by not giving the ACN candidate fair hearing.

  Subsequently, a five man re-trial panel which include Justices Ali Garba, Benedict E. Agbattah, Ismaila H. Bashir, Muhammad T.M. Aliyu and Abimbola O. Obaseki was constituted in Osun State but confirmed the election of Oyinlola in the judgment that was delivered on 28th May, 2010.

  Dissatisfied with the judgment, Aregbesola filed an appeal against the judgment insisting that the votes recorded in Atakumosa West, Ayedaade, Boluwaduro, Boripe, Ede North, Ife Central, Ifedayo, Isokan, Odo-Otin and Ola Oluwa Local Government areas did not represent lawful votes cast in the   said Local Government Areas in the Osun State Governorship election held on14th April, 2007.

  He further clamoured that Oyinlola was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast in the election and that he (Aregbesola) should have been returned having scored the highest number of votes cast and that the election in the said local government areas were vitiated by substantial non-compliance with the mandatory requirements of the Electoral Act, 2006.

  According to him, 'no election was conducted in several polling stations and wards in the said local government areas and that in few areas where elections were held; the exercise was marred by violence.

  Some Issues raised by Aregbesola
  Whether the treatment of the evidence of the petitioners' witnesses,-PW1 - PW65 and PW71 - PW79, as mere allegations was not erroneous and did not occasion a miscarriage of justice;

  Whether the decision of the tribunal that the evidence of P.W.10 required corroboration was not erroneous and did not occasion a miscarriage of justice, whether the decision of the tribunal that the allegation that INEC building was burnt in Boripe Local Government Area was not established was not erroneous and did not occasion a miscarriage of justice and whether the decision of the tribunal that all the allegations of the petitioners related to criminal offences the proof of which must be beyond reasonable doubt was not erroneous and did not occasion a miscarriage of justice. Whether the Tribunal was right when it held that the issue of non-counting of votes, non-recording of votes are required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt rather than on the balance of probabilities,

  Whether the decision of the tribunal that the evidence of non-counting of votes, non-announcement of results and what happened at the various polling units could only have come from polling agents was not erroneous, whether the Tribunal was right in holding that the Petitioners failed to lead evidence on such issues as non-counting, non-recording of votes and non-announcement of results at the polling units, whether the decision of the tribunal that the allegations of the petitioners of the non-availability of voters' registers and the non-accreditation of voters in the Boripe Local Government Area were not proved was not erroneous and did not occasion a miscarriage of justice, whether the failure of the tribunal to consider the various documents tendered in evidence in support of the petitioners' case was not erroneous and did not occasion a miscarriage of justice and;

  Whether the decision of the tribunal that the petitioners failed to prove their case with regard to Atakumosa West Local Government Area was not erroneous and did not occasion a miscarriage of justice.

Recent judicial landmarks
  In 2009, an Appeal Court sitting in Benin sacked Olusegun Agagu and made Olusegun Mimiko the duly elected governor of Ondo State.

A similar intervention happened in Edo State when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was declared the winner and deposed Professor Osunbor. Just recently, the Appeal Court in Ilorin also ruled in favour of Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, even as the tenure of the administration of Engineer Segun Oni still had months to run.

  In Delta state, following an appeal against the ruling of the election petition Tribunal in Asaba by Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), an Appeal Court sitting in Benin ordered INEC to conduct a re-run election following the nullification of the 2007 governorship election in the state, thereby sacking erstwhile Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan from office as governor of Delta state. Oshiomhole congratulates Aregbesola

  The Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has congratulated the Governor of Osun State, Alhaji Rauf Aregbosola on his victory at the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.  

  In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, the Governor said 'I heartily rejoice with my brother, my friend and my Comrade, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola on his sweet victory at the Appeal Court more than three years after he was robbed of the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Osun State on April 14, 2007.  

  'His victory is even sweeter considering that just a few weeks ago, another Appeal Court had sacked the illegal government in Ekiti State and declared our Comrade, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the authentic Governor of that State.  

  'The latest verdict of the Appeal Court is another testament that the Judiciary is the last hope of the defenceless and the oppressed.  

  'However, while we continue to rely on the Judiciary to salvage the country from oppressors and election riggers, those who presided over the polls which have been faulted by the judiciary should not remain as electoral officers at INEC and should, as a matter of fact, be prosecuted to serve as a deterrence to other would-be polls manipulators.  

  'As we approach another election year, the electorate must be vigilant to ensure that the principle of 'One Man, One Vote' is followed to the letter and should be ready to defend their votes.  

  'While Alhaji Aregbesola has reclaimed his mandate more than three years after the election, there is the need to ensure that all election petitions be dispensed with before swearing-in so that election riggers do not benefit from their fraudulent actions.  

  'With the triumph of Aregbesola as Governor of Osun State, the good people of the State can rest, assured that their own Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led Government will deliver to them those dividends that the sacked illegal government failed to deliver.'