By Ola Ajayi
Final judgement in 2007 governorship election petition in Osun State between Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, and Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, may be delivered by the Court of Appeal sooner than expected.
The appellate court had resumed hearing of the matter last month and taken written addresses from counsel of both sides after which the lawyers addressed the court for about 20 minutes each.
In his submission, lead counsel to Rauf Aregbesola asked the court to declare Aregbesola the winner of the election after nullifying the results of the election in 10 local government area of the state.
He said: “There were massive irregularities in the conduct of the election,” adding that Independent Natioal Electoral Commission, INEC, failed to reply to all allegation of irregularities and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006.”
According to him, their alleged failure to challenge any aspect of the evidence tendered by the petitioner was tantamount to abandonment of their case
He added that Exhibit 92 which relates to Boripe Local Government, the 14,497 votes declared by INEC were more than the 12,631 voters that were registered and yet the lower tribunal which delivered its judgement on May 28 did not consider it.
In his counter argument, lead counsel to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Mr Yusuf Alli (SAN), said the appellant failed to plead the issue of over voting and that Aregbesola should not be allowed at this stage to change the rule of the game, adding that the evidence they adduced had not proved the case brought before the tribunal.
He said: “On the issue of Boripe, your lordship would see pages 62-71 of the petition that the issue of over voting was never pleaded. The appellant should not be allowed at this stage to change the rule when the game is almost over.”
Alli, however, faulted the cases of Kayode Fayemi and Segun Oni which Olujimi cited, saying the case was based on peculiar facts and circumstances.