.Oyetola, Adeleke

  • We’re in court to deepen our democratic values – Oyetola’s aide
  • PDP wants Oyetola, APC sanctioned over media trial

Shina Abubakar

As the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal begins pre-trial sittings on Monday, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have expressed confidence in the judiciary to deliver justice.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, after the July 16 governorship election in the state declared Senator Ademola Adeleke of the PDP winner, leading Governor Oyetola and the APC to challenge the outcome, alleging overvoting in 749 polling units across ten local government areas of the state.

Secretary to the tribunal, David Umar on Sunday confirmed that the three-man panel will begin pre-trial sitting on Monday.

Spokesperson to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, Mr Ismail Omipidan, in a statement on Sunday, disclosed that his principal decided to approach the tribunal to further deepen the country’s electoral values and system.

The statement reads in part; “Make no mistake, our case is not in any way an attempt to impugn the integrity of INEC. That’s not the motivation. It is to further help deepen our electoral system and to help INEC correct whatever anomalies or gaps that may have been exposed from the conduct of the Osun Governorship Election ahead of the 2023 elections. Most of the reforms we have today as part of our electoral laws were borne out of the decisions of the court. Our observations may as well be part of future reforms.

“Apart from the fact that we are challenging his eligibility to stand for the election in the first instance, having purportedly been awarded a university degree barely 24 days after he acquired an equivalent of an O’level result, we are equally challenging the election results in 749 polling units across 10 Local Governments.

“Interestingly, as of 2018, he had no O-level results. But upon his return, he claimed he has a diploma, awarded to him a mid-last year and that the said certificate qualified him for a B.Sc in Criminal Studies or so 24 days after getting the said Diploma certificate.

“Again, recall that after the election, we applied for the BVAS report. INEC availed us of the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the report. We filed our petitions in court. But INEC later issued another CTC to the PDP, claiming that as at the time the first one was issued to us, they had not synchronised the data in the BVAS. The question will now be, “what was the basis of declaring the election results?” Is INEC right to have issued two BVAS reports that do not align? These and many more are some of the issues the Tribunal will be helping us to resolve in the days ahead, and we are very confident in the ability of the Tribunal to deliver justice in the matter.

Meanwhile, the PDP in a statement by the party’s caretaker Chairman, Dr Akintunde Akindele, while commending the judiciary for its uprightness over the request to relocate the tribunal sitting to Abuja, expressed disappointment over what it described as APC’s sponsored subjudice media trial.

“Our party as a law-abiding organisation is however disappointed with the recklessness and utter disregard of Mr Oyetola and his team for the integrity and credibility of the judicial process. In the last few weeks, the petitioner has launched a series of media publications, first alleging false admission to over-voting by defendants, misrepresenting to the public the fillings of defendants, alleging complicity of the electoral commission through doctoring of court fillings and lately creating falsified election results to purportedly claim victory.

“As much as we have attempted to correct the counterfeited claims of being an interested party, Mr Oyetola and his team are so far incorrigible as they persist in their nefarious conduct of wilful pervasion of facts. We have therefore come to the conclusion that ongoing election data manipulation in the public domain if left unchecked by the Tribunal is capable of plunging the state into conflict ahead of the November 27 transfer of power. The polity is already over-heated and it is time Mr Oyetola is called to order before he plunges the state into an avoidable crisis.

“We must hasten to add that our objection to the relocation request was premised on the critical need to protect the integrity and safety of BVAS machines and other materials used during the elections. As the machines are likely to be central to the determination of the petition, keeping them safe here in Osun rather than exposing them to tampering and hacking on transit, is our official position”, the statement reads in part.

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