- They disagreed with the Majority Judgement
- Accuses INEC of rigging the election for the ruling APC
Justices Adamu Galinje and Kumai Akaahs of Supreme Court have dissented to the lead judgment of the Apex Court Declaring Oyetola Gboyega of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as the duly elected governor of Osun State.
Starnews reports that the two justices in their minority judgement also declared PDP and its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke winner of the last governorship election in Osun State.
Justice Akaahs criticised INEC’s decision to rely on its manual rather than the country’s Constitution to order a rerun.
“INEC has always used this inconclusive elections to do what it wants to do, and I don’t think that should continue,” he said.
“The first appellant (PDP), which met the constitutional provision of having the highest number of votes and has the required spread in two-third of the local governments ought to be declared winner.”
The blistering rebuke of the electoral body came at the Supreme Court’s ruling on the election dispute brought by Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The two judges from a seven-member panel, disagreed with a majority ruling upholding the September 2018 election in Mr Oyetola’s favour.
Premium Times however gave account of how the election happened:
Mr Adeleke filed a petition at the election tribunal to challenge the victory of Mr Oyetola of the APC.
The main election was held on September 22 while a supplementary election was held on September 27 in seven polling units.
The electoral commission, INEC, declared Mr Oyetola winner of the election after the supplementary poll. Mr Adeleke led after the first round of polling.
Mr Adeleke, who said he polled the highest number of votes in the election overall, asked the tribunal to cancel the victory of Mr Oyetola and declare him the winner of the election.
The Osun tribunal ruled in Mr Adeleke’s favour and declared him the winner of the election. In a split judgment of two to one, the tribunal ruled that INEC was wrong to have ordered a rerun election. It nullified the rerun.
The court also ruled that INEC did not comply with its guidelines on results from 17 polling units.
The tribunal then deducted the results of both parties from the declared total of votes in the affected 17 polling units.
According to the tribunal, the PDP won the election with 254,698 votes, while the APC came second with 253,452 votes.
The tribunal also said that the PDP would still have won the poll even if it had opted to validate the supplementary election.
But in a contrary opinion in May, the Court of Appeal ruled that “the tribunal was in patent error when it set aside the rerun.”
The court, which had also delivered its verdict in a split decision of four to one, ruled that the judge who issued the majority decision at the tribunal, Peter Obiora, was absent on February 6, 2019, when a major discussion on the issue of none-compliance was tabled before the tribunal; and could therefore not have viewed the issue squarely.
Dissatisfied, Mr Adeleke challenged the decision at the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court ruling and disagreement
The Supreme Court’s effective ruling, read by Bode Rhodes-Vivour, affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal.
The court said Mr Obiora was evidently absent on February 6 based on the documents before it.
It said the failure of Mr Obiora to be present on that day meant that the tribunal lacked the authorities to have given any judgment on the matter.
In disagreeing, however, Justices Akaas and Galinje said although the absence of Mr Obiora should result in the nullification of the judgement of the election tribunal, “the only way to affirm that was by producing the original court records.”
They said the “the actual record of the tribunal was not before the court of appeal.”
“The onus is on the APC to have proven that Obiora did not sit on February, 6. They should have sworn an affidavit,” the judges said.
They also held that it has been the precedence of the Supreme Court that judges do not have to sign the certified true copies of the judgement.
Editor’s Note: This report has been corrected to accurately reflect the arguments presented by Justices Akaas and Galinje.