BREAKING: Appeal Court Upholds Adeleke’s Election As Osun Governor

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday upheld the election of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the duly elected Governor of Osun State.

In a judgement read by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu on behalf of the panel, the court of appeal voided the judgement of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which sacked Governor Ademola Adeleke and declared Gboyega Oyetola as the winner of the election.

The immediate-past governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola, who came second in the 16 July 2022 election had filed a petition challenging Mr Adeleke’s victory.

The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo, which upheld the allegation of over-voting in the areas won by Mr Adeleke, had declared Mr Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the poll after deducting “unlawful votes” from the PDP’s scores.

But Mr Adeleke had appealed against the lower court’s decision, urging the appellate court to set it aside and re-affirm his victory.

Upholding Mr Adeleke’s victory on Friday, the Court of Appeal held that the tribunal was “wrong to reach the conclusion that there was over-voting during the state governorship election held on 16 July 2022.”

Mr Shuaibu who prepared and read the lead decision said “the burden of proving the allegations of over-voting lies squarely with the respondents (Mr Oyetola and the APC).”

“It is inconceivable to assume that the testimonies of the respondents’ witnesses had any probative value,” the appellate court held.

The Court of Appeal noted that Mr Oyetola and the APC “did not tender the voters’ registers and Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS machines,” which captured data of eligible voters at the Osun governorship election.

The court held that the foundation of what transpired at the polling units would only be established by the evidence that is contained in the voter register and BVAS machines.

Background

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the governorship election held in Osun State on 16 July 2022.

The INEC Chief Returning Officer for Osun, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who announced the result on the day after the election, said the PDP candidate scored 403,371 votes to emerge victorious.

Mr Adeleke defeated his closest challenger, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 375,027 votes.

But a three-member panel of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal headed by Terste Kume set aside Mr Adeleke’s victory in its verdict delivered on 27 January.

In a two-to-one split judgement, the majority decision of the tribunal declared Mr Oyetola the winner of the election.

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