By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
THE Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, will, today, deliver its judgement on an appeal that Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State filed to challenge the nullification of his election.
Adeleke and his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are urging the appellate court to set aside the verdict of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which sacked him from office.
The Justice Tertsea Kume-led three-member panel tribunal, on January 27, in a split decision of two-to-one, voided the declaration of Adeleke as the winner of the governorship election held on July 16, 2022.
In the majority judgement, the tribunal upheld a petition that was brought before it by the former governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who came second in the election.
It held that Adeleke did not score the majority of lawful votes, adding that the conduct of the election was not in substantial compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to the tribunal, the petitioners, Oyetola and APC, successfully established that there was overvoting in 744 polling units in the state.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the majority decision that sacked him from office, governor Adeleke took the case before the Court of Appeal.
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.
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 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.
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