Yinka Salaam, Osogbo
The state government of Osun in Southwest Nigeria has urged citizens to remain calm after the Election Petition Tribunal voided the victory of Governor Gboyega Oyetola on Friday.
It says the administration is still legitimate and that the judgment has been put on appeal.
A statement by the Secretary to the State Government of the state, Mr Wole Oyebamiji on Friday appreciated the support of the people in the face of the judgment which led to jubilations among members of the opposition party.
Voice of Nigeria reports that the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja had on Friday declared Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the 2018 governorship election in the state.
The tribunal voided the cancelation of elections in seven polling units in the state, therefore holding that Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress was not validly returned.
However, in his judgment, the Chairman of the election tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo dismissed the petition filed by the PDP) and its governorship candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke against the declaration of Oyetola as the winner of the election by INEC.
Against the two other members of the tribunal who declared Adeleke as the winner of the election, Justice Sirajo disagreed on the issue of non-compliance and the nullification of the rerun.
The Chairman held that the returning officer of the governorship election properly ordered a rerun election, saying the rerun election held on September 27 was in order.
He also held that there was no credible evidence on non compliance by the petitioners, just as he said the petitioners did not consider Section 40(2) of Electoral Act.
According to Justice Sirajo, all the petitioner’s witnesses in the 23 units said that they don’t have problem with the result of the parties, and that it has not shown any form of over voting.
Justice Sirajo said 90% of processes in the polling units were complied with, and that non recording of the columns has not been shown to amount to substantial non-compliance and has not been shown to affect the result of the election.
He submitted that Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act does not permit the Tribunal to deduct votes and declare a winner.
Justice Sirajo thereafter dismissed the petition of the PDP and Adeleke.
Assurance of adequate security
Consequent upon this, the government asked people to go about their normal businesses while they await the stand of the appellate court.
“As it is, the administration of His Excellency, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, Governor, State of Osun wishes to assure the people that the judgment of the Election Tribunal has been put on appeal.
“This is to further assure all the residents of the State of adequate security of lives and properties, as the Government of the State is still the only legitimate Government having the authority to govern the State.”
“We assure all our people that justice will prevail at last, and the law enforcement agencies have been instructed to maintain law and order across the State.
The therefore urge all the residents of the State to go about their lawful duties without any hindrance.
Judgment to be appealed
The APC rejected the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal that declared Adeleke the winner of the 2018 governorship election.
Speaking after the judgment, the lead counsel to Oyetola at the tribunal, Chief Wole Olanipekun said the judgment would be appealed.
Similarly, the state Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Kunle Oyatomi, in a release said the verdict cannot stand superior legal scrutiny, saying the party will surely appeal against it.
PDP: Victory, an act of God
Meanwhile, the Osun State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed delight at the victory of its governorship candidate in the 2018 governorship election, as declared by the election tribunal sitting in Abuja.
The party Chairman, Soji Adagunodo in a chat with Daily Sun in Osogbo, the state capital, said the victory was an act of God.
Adagunodo who said he knew from the outset of the struggle for the mandate that God Almighty would do justice and had done it, dedicated the victory to God Almighty and the people of the state.
“I thank God Almighty for the victory and we dedicate it to Him. It is a victory for the people of the state. It is a victory for all,” Adagunodo said.
“I commend the good people of Osun for their faith in the PDP and senator Adeleke.”
He also commended the Nigerian judiciary, saying that they did a good job by standing on the truth.
The PDP chairman also expressed confidence in the judiciary, saying: “The judgment shows that the caliber of people in the judiciary are people of impeccable character.
“They are the last hope of the common man and have proved themselves as such. I give kudos to the judiciary.”
Adagunodo, however, said that the party was ready for appeal if the APC decided to appeal the case.
He adds that it was normal for their opposition to appeal the case saying the case is a test of the Nigerian judiciary and democracy.