Osun Election: Tribunal declares Ademola Adeleke winner

Peter Bahago and Yinka Salaam

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The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, Nigeria has nullified the election of Mr Gboyega Oyetola as the winner of the September 22 governorship election in the state and ordered Nigeria’s Electoral Umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Mr Oyetola as the winner.

The tribunal held that the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, PDP, Ademola Adeleke, scored the lawful majority votes.

The tribunal also directed INEC to issue the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Ademola Adeleke Certificate of Return immediately.

The three man panel led by Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, held that INEC returning officer erred by cancelling the election because he is not empowered by law to do so.

The tribunal also faulted the supplementary election conducted in the state, describing cancellation of the results in seven polling Units as illegal.

The tribunal had earlier dismissed the objections of the APC. It said Adeleke’s petition has merit.

It dismissed the separate objections filed by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission against the petition challenging their victory at the September 2018 election.

The PDP and its governorship candidate in the election had filed the petition urging the tribunal to declared that he polled the highest lawful votes and should be declared the winner.

But Oyetola, APC and INEC had filed their notices of preliminary objection contending among others that the petition was incompetent and that the court lacked jurisdiction.

Delivering the‎ lead ruling of the three-man tribunal, Chairman Ibrahim Sirajo, held that the objections were misconceived and struck them out.

The tribunal added that the tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the petition.

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 judgement 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.

“It’s normal. If they decide to appeal the case, we are ready. We are testing the Nigerian judiciary and we are testing the Nigerian democracy.”