The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which had earlier on 24 March affirmed Mr Adeleke’s victory.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court affirmed the election of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, confirming his victory over his opponent, Adegboyega Oyetola, in the highly contested July 16, 2022 poll. A five-member panel led by John Okoro upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had earlier affirmed Adeleke’s victory in March. The ruling ends the dispute over the election’s outcome, and dashes Oyetola’s hopes of returning to office. The court agreed with the Court of Appeal that Oyetola and his party, the All Progressives Congress, failed to provide relevant evidence to support their case. The Supreme Court held that it was necessary for Oyetola and APC to produce the BIVAS machines or certified true copies of the BIVAS as evidence to prove non-
Regarding the allegation of forgery leveled against Adeleke by Oyetola, the Supreme Court held that Oyetola and the APC did not provide sufficient evidence to support their claims. Emmanuel Agim, a member of the Supreme Court panel, noted that there was no evidence presented to prove the case of forgery against Adeleke. Therefore, the allegation could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
The Supreme Court faulted the tribunal for failing to determine Adeleke’s preliminary objection challenging its jurisdiction to hear the case. The court held that the tribunal’s refusal to determine the issue of jurisdiction before proceeding with the substantive petition rendered the entire hearing of the case a nullity. Therefore, the tribunal should have first determined the issue of jurisdiction before delving into the substantive petition.
The Supreme Court held that the entire proceedings of the tribunal were null and void since the issue of jurisdiction was not determined before the substantive petition. However, the court recognized the validity of the tribunal’s decision since it was signed by two members of the panel. The court also noted that the third member of the panel, Justice Peter Obiorah, ought to have made a statement on the matter. In conclusion, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, affirming Adeleke’s victory in the Osun State governorship election.In the Osun State governorship election held on July 16, 2022, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated the then incumbent governor, Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The INEC Chief Returning Officer for Osun, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, declared Adeleke as the winner with 403,371 votes. This result was a significant upset for Oyetola, who was seeking a second term in office. However, the outcome was challenged by Oyetola and the APC, leading to a protracted legal battle.
To clarify, the Court of Appeal upheld Mr. Adeleke’s victory and set aside the decision of the election tribunal which declared Mr. Oyetola as the winner of the election. The Court of Appeal faulted the tribunal’s decision on the issue of over-voting, which was the main legal ground relied upon by Mr. Oyetola in his petition challenging the election. The appellate court held that the tribunal erred by cancelling results of polling units without sufficient evidence of over-voting and also by relying on a report from an expert witness who was not called to testify before the tribunal. The Court of Appeal also faulted the tribunal for not considering Mr. Adeleke’s preliminary objection on the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the petition.
The Court of Appeal held that the burden of proving the allegations of over-voting in the Osun governorship election lies squarely with the respondents, Mr Oyetola and the APC. The court noted that the respondents did not tender the voter registers and Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machines, which captured data of eligible voters at the election. The respondents relied on BVAS reports obtained from INEC to prove over-voting but did not call the petitioner’s witness to speak to the reports. The Court of Appeal also faulted the tribunal for relying only on the table set out in an address of counsel to hold that over-voting occurred in the election. The court, therefore, upheld Mr Adeleke’s victory and declared him winner of the election.[logo-slider]