The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, will today deliver its judgement on an appeal that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor, Ademola Adeleke of Osun State filed to challenge the nullification of his election.
Information Nigeria reports that the the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) backing former governor Gboyega Oyetola expect a ruling in their favour.
Recall a three-member panel of justices headed by Justice Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu had earlier reserved the appeal for judgement after the arguments of both governor Adeleke’s lawyers and former governor Oyetola of APC, who came second in the election.
The appellate court’s officials subsequently informed the parties that the matter had been fixed for hearing, more so that the constitutional 60 days for the hearing of the appeal was due.
Adeleke and PDP had then appealed the judgement of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which sacked him from office.
The tribunal ruled in favour of Oyetola by holding that he proved the allegation of over-voting in some of the polling units.
However, Adeleke has 31 grounds of appeal, praying the court for “an order setting aside the whole decision of the tribunal.”
In his 31 grounds of appeal, Adeleke, maintained that the decision was a nullity, pointing out that the second member of the panel, Justice Rabi Bashir, failed to render her opinion on the petition, either orally or in writing, but merely appended her signature on the judgement.
“The second member of the lower Tribunal could not have validly signed the decision of the chairman of the lower Tribunal without an opinion”, he argued.
Adeleke, through his team of lawyers led by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, further contended that the tribunal decided the matter without considering the totality of evidence that was adduced before it.
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The embattled Osun state governor accused the panel of exhibiting its bias when it left the substance of the case and made reference to his dancing skill.
He contended that “by referring to the appellant’s personal eccentricity for dancing, the lower tribunal derided and mocked him in a manner suggesting that it was biased against him.”
The PDP governor told the appellate court that the physical examination that was conducted on the BVAS established a case of over-voting in only six polling units in the state and not 744 polling units as held by the tribunal.
Speaking on the expectations of the party, Osun PDP Director of Media, Oladele Olabamiji, said his party was hopeful that the Court of Appeal would restore Adeleke’s victory.
He said, “We are expecting justice for the electorate in Osun, who collectively voted for the state governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke. We expect justice in line with the weight of evidence presented before the court.”
The spokesperson for the Osun APC, Kola Olabisi, also expressed optimism that the party would come out in flying colours.
“We are optimistic that we are going to come out in flying colours because of our iron-cast evidence before the court,” Olabisi said.
Also, the Osun State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps said it had deployed personnel to critical infrastructure in the State ahead of the judgment.
A statement by the acting Public Relations Officer of the Command, Kehinde Adeleke, said, “Ahead of Friday’s Appeal Court judgment on the matter between Governor Ademola Adeleke and Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola; there is strategic deployment of personnel around critical infrastructure in the state.
“There will also be patrol by armed detachment of the corps in readiness for emergency response. The command is ready to prevent any breakdown of law and order arising from possible protests by aggrieved parties.”