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Substantiate your allegations, Aregbesola tells Omisore

By NBF News
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The Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has challenged the senator representing Osun East Senatorial District, Iyiola Omisore, to substantiate his claim that the judgment that ushered in the governor was purchased.

Omisore had, in an advertorial in a national daily, alleged that former governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, influenced the judges that handled the appeal verdict that brought in Aregbesola and some other judgments that brought in other elected officers of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

He also indicted the judiciary as he said some appeal judges involved in some appeal cases compromised.

In a statement signed by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the governor said Omisore was still dazed by the sudden end to his governorship ambition in the state.

The governor described the senator's claims as 'stale sing-songs which have become irritating to the ears of the good people of Osun State and right-thinking members of the Nigerian populace.'

He stated that, 'in the first place, we challenge Omisore, who we are aware is still dazed by the abrupt end to his ambition to become the next governor of Osun State, to produce concrete evidence that the judgment of the Appeal Court turned to a commodity which the judges traded with Tinubu.

'In his said advertorial, Omisore laboured in vain to establish this as it was fraught with unsubstantiated claims. For the avoidance of doubt, the following points are ample evidences of his desperate attempts at confusing Nigerians by spreading outright falsehood and engaging in character assassination:

•Omisore erroneously stated that jurisprudence was 'literally re-written' because the justices of the Court of Appeal held admissible the reports tendered by the ward supervisors of the ACN. This assertion made by Omisore without reference to any statutory or judicial authority is baseless. The Court of Appeal, in admitting the report of the polling agents tendered by the ward supervisors acted within the provision of Section 91(1) (b) and (2) of the Evidence Act which clearly allows documents to be admitted 'notwithstanding that the maker of the statement is available but is not called as a witness.' The Court of Appeal also relied on the Supreme Court decision in Ojo v Gharoro as well as Section 198 (2) of the Evidence Act.

• The reference by Omisore to the judgment of the Court of Appeal as a 'fraudulent judgment' without any justification merely depicts his contempt for the judicial institutions in Nigeria. In order to further vilify the judiciary unjustly, Omisore also made reference to 'page 142 of the records of the lower tribunal.' Obviously, Omisore is ignorant of the fact that the record of Court of Appeal is seven volumes and therefore the blatant reference to a page 142 without adverting to the volume.

• It is also deliberate falsehood by Omisore to assert that the Court of Appeal ignored judicial precedent in relying on the evidence of the Ward Supervisors of the Action Congress.   The finding of the Court of Appeal was that the lower Tribunal had ruled that the Ward Supervisors gave direct evidence of what they witnessed but wrongly refuse to rely on the testimony because the lower tribunal thought that the testimony could only come from persons designated as party agents.

·         Contrary to the confusion sought to be created by Omisore that the Court of Appeal refused to apply the Supreme Court decision in Buhari v Obasanjo, the Court of Appeal actually considered and distinguished the case at hand from that in Buhari v Obasanjo as the Court of Appeal held:

'The further determinant factor of competence is also dependant on the facts and circumstances of the witness as to the physical disposition of such a person to give direct evidence. In the absence of section 136 of the Electoral Act specifically providing that only polling agents can give evidence as to issues of holding of elections and announcement of results, the unambiguous provision ought to be given its literal interpretation therefore. Significant to say that the said section of the Electoral Act, however creates an offence for loitering 'without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote.'

The said section 136 of the Act cannot be related to the witnesses PW1-PW66 and PW71-PW79 negatively. This I say because the witnesses were not loitering but had lawful excuse to be at the polling units by being party ward supervisors. Their situation, contrary to the deductions arrived at by the tribunal is different from that of Amosun v INEC & Ors which was relied on by the said tribunal as well as Buhari v Obasanjo which said authorities do not aid the respondents case as submitted. The witnesses in the authorities under reference were not direct and qualified under section 77 of the Evidence Act but hearsay witnesses. To the contrary however, the witnesses at hand had lawful access to the polling station and were therefore in a proper position to give direct evidence on allegations of over voting, non-counting of votes, etc.'

·        On the issue of evidence of Tunde Yadeka, there is nowhere in the Briefs of Argument of Oyinlola and the PDP presented before the Court of Appeal that the Court should not act on the evidence of Tunde Yadeka because of a purported decision in Amosun v INEC. One then wonders where Omisore's false contention is coming from. In any event, the Court of Appeal decided to act on the evidence of Tunde Yadeka because the court found that the lower tribunal made reference to irrelevant matters in refusing to act on the evidence of the witness.

·         It is also not true that the Court of Appeal resolved allegations of crime on preponderance of evidence/balance of probabilities. Rather what the court held that the Appellants made two sets of allegations, one bothering on non compliance with the Electoral Act and the other bothers on criminal allegations. Applying locus classicus like Omoboriowo v Ajasin, the Court of Appeal used principles of severance of pleadings and then used the civil standard of preponderance of evidence in considering the evidence of allegations of non-compliance.

·        It smacks of mediocrity on the path of Omisore to assert that Aregbesola who satisfied the requirements of Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution as the winner of the election faces crisis of legitimacy. Certainly, Omisore is engaging in self-delusion all the citizens of Osun State accept Aregbesola as the legitimate governor and are always showing this with massive adulation every day.

'Obviously, Omisore is ignorant of the fact that time is of essence in election petition matters in seeking to cast aspersion on Justices for the Court of Appeal for giving preference to expeditious determination of the election petition appeal.

'We find it unnecessary to comment on the lamentation of Omisore that unlawful votes credited to Oyinlola was nullified by the Court of Appeal after applying relevant rules of law.'

Aregbesola also said in spite of Omisore's attacks on Tinubu, Nigerians know who the enemies of democracy perpetrators of fraud are in various facets of national life.

Office of the Director
BUREAU OF COMMUNICATION AND STRATEGY
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, OSUN STATE
Date: January 1, 2011
Our attention has been drawn to an advertorial in today, Tuesday, January 11, 2011 edition of The Guardian signed by the senator representing Osun East Senatorial District, Iyiola Omisore, in which he made spirited efforts to rubbish the Nigerian Judiciary by casting aspersions on the well-thought out verdict of the Court of Appeal that ushered in the current administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in Osun State.

Ordinarily, we would have dismissed Omisore's spurious allegations against the institution of Judiciary, the Governor and leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu because they are stale sing-songs which have become irritating to the ears of the good people of Osun state and right-thinking members of the Nigerian populace, we are however, compelled to spare a few moment to establish the hollowness of the allegations.

In the first place, we challenge Omisore, who we are aware is still dazed by the abrupt end to his ambition to become the next governor of Osun State, to produce concrete evidence that the judgement of the Appeal Court turned to a commodity which the judges traded with Tinubu.

In his said advertorial, Omisore laboured in vain to establish this as it was fraught with unsubstantiated claims. For the avoidance of doubt, the following points are ample evidences of his desperate attempts at confusing Nigerians by spreading outright falsehood and engaging in character assassination:

·        Omisore erroneously stated that jurisprudence was 'literally re-written' because the Justices of the Court of Appeal held admissible the reports tendered by the Ward Supervisors of the Action Congress. This assertion made by Omisore without reference to any statutory or judicial authority is baseless. The Court of Appeal, in admitting the report of the polling agents tendered by the Ward Supervisors acted within the provision of Section 91(1)(b) and (2) of the Evidence Act which clearly allows documents to be admitted 'notwithstanding that the maker of the statement is available but is not called as a witness'. The Court of Appeal also relied on the Supreme Court decision in Ojo v Gharoro as well as Section 198(2) of the Evidence Act.

·        The reference by Omisore to the Judgement of the Court of Appeal as a 'fraudulent judgment' without any justification merely depicts his contempt for the judicial institutions in Nigeria. In order to further vilify the judiciary unjustly, Omisore also made reference to 'page 142 of the records of the lower tribunal'. Obviously, Omisore is ignorant of the fact that the record of Record of Appeal is seven volumes and therefore the blatant reference to a page 142 without adverting to the volume.

·        It is also deliberate falsehood by Omisore to assert that the Court of Appeal ignored judicial precedent in relying on the evidence of the Ward Supervisors of the Action Congress.   The finding of the Court of Appeal was that the lower Tribunal had ruled that the Ward Supervisors gave direct evidence of what they witnessed but wrongly refuse to rely on the testimony because the lower tribunal thought that the testimony could only come from persons designated as party agents.

·         Contrary to the confusion sought to be created by Omisore that the Court of Appeal refused to apply the Supreme Court decision in Buhari v Obasanjo, the Court of Appeal actually considered and distinguished the case at hand from that in Buhari v Obasanjo as the Court of Appeal held:

'The further determinant factor of competence is also dependant on the facts and circumstances of the witness as to the physical disposition of such a person to give direct evidence. In the absence of section 136 of the Electoral Act specifically providing that only polling agents can give evidence as to issues of holding of elections and announcement of results, the unambiguous provision ought to be given its literal interpretation therefore. Significant to say that the said section of the Electoral Act, however creates an offence for loitering 'without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote.' The said section 136 of the Act cannot be related to the witnesses PW1-PW66 and PW71-PW79 negatively. This I say because the witnesses were not loitering but had lawful excuse to be at the polling units by being party ward supervisors. Their situation, contrary to the deductions arrived at by the tribunal is different from that of Amosun v INEC & Ors which was relied on by the said tribunal as well as Buhari v Obasanjo which said authorities do not aid the respondents case as submitted.

The witnesses in the authorities under reference were not direct and qualified under section 77 of the Evidence Act but hearsay witnesses. To the contrary however, the witnesses at hand had lawful access to the polling station and were therefore in a proper position to give direct evidence on allegations of over voting, non counting of votes, etc.'

·        On the issue of evidence of Tunde Yadeka, there is nowhere in the Briefs of Argument of Oyinlola and the PDP presented before the Court of Appeal that the Court should not act on the evidence of Tunde Yadeka because of a purported decision in Amosun v INEC. One then wonders where Omisore's false contention is coming from. In any event, the Court of Appeal decided to act on the evidence of Tunde Yadeka because the court found that the lower tribunal made reference to irrelevant matters in refusing to act on the evidence of the witness.

·         It is also not true that the Court of Appeal resolved allegations of crime on preponderance of evidence/balance of probabilities. Rather what the court held that the Appellants made two sets of allegations, one bothering on non compliance with the Electoral Act and the other bothers on criminal allegations. Applying locus classicus like Omoboriowo v Ajasin, the Court of Appeal used principles of severance of pleadings and then used the civil standard of preponderance of evidence in considering the evidence of allegations of non-compliance.

·        It smacks of mediocrity on the path of Omisore to assert that Aregbesola who satisfied the requirements of Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution as the winner of the election faces crisis of legitimacy. Certainly, Omisore is engaging in self-delusion all the citizens of Osun State accept Aregbesola as the legitimate governor and are always showing this with massive adulation every day.

·        Obvioulsly, Omisore is ignorant of the fact that time is of essence in election petition matters in seeking to cast aspersion on Justices for the Court of Appeal for giving preference to expeditious determination of the election petition appeal.

We find it unnecessary to comment on the lamentation of Omisore that unlawful votes credited to Oyinlola was nullified by the Court of Appeal after applying relevant rules of law.

As for his attacks and threats on the Judiciary, we leave the senator to continue to malign that arm of government that has stood in the way of election riggers until appropriate voices rise up to set the records straight on behalf of the judges.

On his diatribe against Tinubu, Nigerians know the difference between those who have consistent worked to make democracy work and those who have a consistent record of subverting it.

Signed:
Semiu Okanlawon
Director,
Bureau of Communication & Strategy.