The judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, handed down on January 27, 2023, that had removed Governor Ademola Adeleke from office, was overturned on Friday by the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja.
Adeleke appealed on 31 grounds, and the appellate court rendered its decision.
Although the tribunal declared the election, which took place on July 16, 2022, to have been won by Senator Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, invalid due to excessive voting.
After the state’s governorship elections, an election petition tribunal removed Adeleke from office on the grounds that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate had not received a majority of valid votes.
The Court of Appeal, however, unanimously decided to overturn the tribunal’s decision and declared Adeleke to be the legitimate head of Osun State in a three-person panel headed by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu.
The Appeal Court Panel overturned the tribunal’s directive that an All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate and Adeleke’s predecessor, Gboyega Oyetola, receive a Certificate of Return instead of Adeleke.
The panel concluded that the Osun State Tribunal erred in asserting that there had been an excessive number of votes cast, a claim that was based solely on the APC and Oyetola’s evidence and, as such, did not in any way support their position.
The judge criticized Oyetola and the APC for relying solely on data from the back-end server and ignoring the voters register, which serves as the cornerstone of the entire electoral process. As a result, the judge found that their claims of excessive voting were unsubstantiated.
Regarding the jurisdictional issue, the court ruled in Adeleke’s favor, concluding that under section 285(8) of the Constitution as amended, the court is fully authorized to hear the appeal.
We’ll have more soon.