Court victory: Osun governor pledges to deliver on promises

 Yinka Salaam, Osogbo 

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Following the Supreme Court judgment which affirmed him as the governor of Osun State, Mr Gboyega Oyetola has promised not to disappoint the citizens who reposed their confidence in him and his party, the All Progressives Congress.

Oyetola who spoke to party enthusiasts and well wishers immediately after the judgment at the popular Olaiya Park in Osogbo, the state capital thanked the people of Osun, asking them to expect more dividends of democracy as promised.

“I thank the entire people of Osun for their support through this turbulent period, particularly the women. We shall ensure we give women prominence and adequate representation in our government.

“I pledge to keep all the promises made during the electioneering campaign.”

The Supreme Court upheld the Judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal affirming Governor Adegboyega Oyetola as the duly elected governor of Osun State.

A seven-man panel led by Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad had, after hearing the appeals on June 17, 2019 fixed July 5, 2019 for judgment.

The apex court in split decisions of five to two members of the panel, on Friday, agreed substantially with the Court of Appeal which ruled that a majority judgment delivered at the tribunal was a nullity.

The court held that the judge who read the majority judgment at the Election Tribunal , Peter Obiora, was evidently absent on February 6th, 2019, following the documents before the court.

It agreed with the Appeal Court that the absence of Justice Obiora when a key witness in the petition was heard had rendered the judgment of the trial tribunal a nullity, and that the failure of Mr Obiora to be present on that day meant that the tribunal lacked the authority to have given any judgment on the matter.

Justice Bode Rhodes- Vivour, who delivered the majority judgment supported by five of the seven justices of the Apex court panel, held that when the rightly constituted panel of a court does not sit, the activities carried out by that panel is a nullity.

While the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad and three other members consented to the lead majority judgment delivered by Justice Rhodes- Vivour, Justices Kumai Akaahs and Paul Galinje affirmed the tribunal judgment which declared PDP as the winner of the poll.

Justice Akaahs in the minority judgment held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in an election ought to remain an unbiased umpire.

He said even as INEC erred in law by relying on its manual to cancel some aspects of the election, the applicant still met the constitutional requirements of having the highest votes cast and spread.

 APC reacts

The Osun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has dedicated the Supreme Court to God, describing the outcome as prayers answered.

In a statement by the Director Research, Strategy and Publicity of the APC, Mr Kunle Oyatomi said, “The Progressive God that Osun people serve heard their prayers and granted their request.

“That Gboyega Oyetola, who won last September ‘s governorship election, should be so confirmed by the Supreme Court. God has used the highest legal authority of the Land to proclaim the truth that Oyetola lawfully won. And that is historic.”

Party enthusiasts and hundreds of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, OYES Cadets, took to the streets on Friday at the news.

The cadets engaged in various victory parades across the State.

The parade of victory for Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, led by the OYES Commandant, Colonel EniIbukun Oyewole, simultaneously covered various local governments of the state.

Areas involved were Ede North, Egbedore, Osogbo, Olorunda, Ifelodun, Irewole/Isokan among others.

The victory parade involved motorcade battalion parade amidst drums & trumpets that took off from the government house.

More accolades

An elder statesman, Chief Abiola Ogundokun also congratulated Governor Gboyega Oyetola for his victory at the Supreme court.

In a press statement, Ogundokun, the Publicity Secretary of the defunct National Party of Nigeria in the Second Republic charged the Governor to see his victory as an act of prayers answered.

He noted: “The campaign slogan of Oyetola is Ileri Oluwa. This literally translates to mean the promise of God. This promise has come into fruition with the Supreme Court victory. “

 The elder statesman appealed to Oyetola to forget all the litigation distractions and concentrate on his pursuit of humanitarian policies and programmes.

 In the same vein, the Speaker of the State of Osun House of Assembly, Mr Timothy Owoeye has congratulated the Governor of the State, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, and the entire members of the All Progressives Congress over the just recorded victory.

In a congratulatory message, Owoeye commended the Supreme Court panel for their braveness and uprightness.

Chief Whip of the House of Assembly, Mr Tunde Olatunji  said, ” God had clearly spoken since September last year and the Apex judicial body in Nigeria has just confirmed that truly God rules in the affairs of men”.

The Osun Assembly Chief Whip pointed out that the high expectation of all parties that patiently waited for the verdict was proof that Nigerians believed in peaceful resolutions of conflicts, rather than resorting to self-help.

 Olatunji however commended the opposition party for taking the legal option rather than resorting to self help.

“The efforts of the PDP and its candidate is commendable, for adopting a civil approach in challenging the process from the beginning to the end. This remains the only attitude to deepening democracy in the interest of tranquility, peaceful coexistence and socio-economic development of our dear state and country,” he said.

He called on all political parties, stakeholders and all citizens of the state to join hands with the governor, saying ” the task of developing the state is a joint civic responsibility of all “.