The Osun Governorship Election Tribunal has sacked Senator Ademola Adeleke as Governor.
In a majority judgment, the tribunal chaired by Justice Tertse Kume cancelled election in 744 polling units due to over-voting. Former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola challenged the July 16th 2022 governorship by joining All Progressives Congress(APC) to file a petition against the victory of Adeleke.
He alleged over-voting in 749 polling units and certificate forgery by candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).
Oyetola and APC who dragged Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) as the first respondent, Adeleke, second respondent and PDP as the third, called two witnesses.
Counsel to the petitioners, Lateef Fagbemi urged the tribunal to admit the contents of the petition and declare Oyetola as the winner of the election.
INEC called one witness while Adeleke called two witnesses to defend the petition during the hearing.
The counsel to INEC, Professor Paul Ananaba and Adeleke’s counsel, Alex Izion, Onyechi Ikpeazu for PDP all urged the court to discountenance the petition and affirm him as the winner of the election.
Reading the majority judgement by Rabi Bashir and Tertse Kume, Justice Kume, said: “In other words, the defenses of the respondents are taint with fundamental flaws, irreconcilable and unreliable, incapable of defeating the credible evidence tendered by the petitioners in respect of the 744 polling units where over voting has been established.
“The inference we hereby drawn from the factestablished by the evidence and record is that the election conducted on the 16th day of July, 2022 was done in substantial non complaince with the provisions of the Electoral Acts and extant regulations.
“Moreover, exhibit BVR has not been withdrawn by the first respondent who made and issued it. The petitioners relied on exhibit BVR in maintaining this petition.
“Similarly, the exhibit tendered by the respondents after exhibit BVR submitted by learned counsel to the petitioners, were thought of after the declaration of result on the 17th day of July, 2022.
“The said conduct of the respondents, especially, the first respondent amounts to tampering with official records. The conduct of the first respondent in the said election under consideration has produced multiple accusation report, contrary to votes declaration, to conduct of free, fair and credible elections on the basis of one man or woman with one vote.
“Consequently, to forestall a manipulation of BIVAS machines in the conduct of elections in Nigeria by the first respondent, the presiding officers at the polling units and other key officers of the first respondent should act on the vest won by them.
“During the conduct of elections, an electronic device embedded in a safe vest which would have helped you to collect data and information transmittable to a server domiciled either to the headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force, NIGCOMSAT, the National Secretary Adviser, independent of the first respondent.
“The data store at the server in any of the said offices will be a resource material for investigation and possible prosecution of any infraction that may occur in the use of the BIVAS in the polling units during the conduct of elections.
“We find as a fact that the voting occurred in the election conducted on the 16th day of July, 2022 in the manner stated in the table in paragraph 6.19 of the petitioner’s final written address already reproduced in this judgement, the duty of this tribunal is to deduct the said invalid votes from the lawful votes of the first petitioner and the first respondent to determine who have the majority of lawful votes at the said election.
“The table produced on page 30 paragraph 7.01 of the petitioner final written address in response to the first respondent final written address on page 17 paragraph 6.21 on the petitioner’s final address shows a graphic demonstration of the lawful votes after the deduction of the said invalid votes cast.
“For the sake of emphasis, the total lawful vote cast for each of the candidates after the said deduction of invalid votes is 314,931 for the first petitioner and 290,266 votes for the second respondent.
“The second respondent did not score a majority of lawful votes cast for the election. The declaration and return is hereby declared as null and void, the second respondent can not “go low low and buga won” as duly elected governor of Osun state in the election conducted on July 16th 2022, see Kiss Daniel song, Buga.
”Rather, we hereby hold that, the first petitioner scored the majority of lawful votes in the said election and is hereby returned as such.
“The first respondent is hereby directed to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the second respondent and give the first petitioner Certificate of Return as the duly elected Governor.”
In similar vein, tongues have been set wagging and lawyers have continued to react to an allusion made by the Tribunal to a popular song, “Buga” by Nigerian music artiste, Kizz Daniel in the Certified True Copy of Judgement.
The part of the judgement reads, “The 2nd Respondent cannot “go lo lo lo lo” and “Buga won” as duly elected Governor of Osun State in the election conducted on 16th day of July, 2022. See Kizz Daniel song, BUGA.”
That section of the judgement has caught the attention of lawyers and reactions have swiftly begun to trickle in.
In a reaction on one social media platform sighted by TheNigeriaLawyer, a lawyer wrote, “I don’t even see the humour in it… What I see is a judge stepping into the arena to mock a party he has given judgment against; especially when it is common knowledge that this Governor’s pastime is dancing.
The judge sounds like one of those who thinks Adeleke should not be Governor because he loves dancing… The judge can be accused of sacking the Governor because he hates his dancing rather than for any breach of the Electoral Act.
The judge has unwittingly opened himself up to be accused of bias and malice.”
TheNigeriaLawyer reports The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Adeleke, the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, the winner of the July 16 election.
The Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, announced that Adeleke got a total of 403,371 votes, beating the incumbent Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC, who garnered 375,027 votes in the keenly contested race.
In the election held across 3,763 polling units in the 30 local government areas in Osun, the PDP won 17 of the LGAs, while the APC recorded more votes in the remaining 13. The PDP won in Ede North, Ede South, Ifelodun, Boluwaduro, Egbedore, Odo Otin, Osogbo, Ila, Atakumosa West, Olorunda, Ilesa West, Obokun, Oriade, Orolu, Ife North, Irepodun, and Ejigbo LGAs.
The APC, on the other hand, won in Boripe, Ilesa East, Ayedire, Ifedayo, Ife Central, Ayedaade, Iwo, Olaoluwa, Isokan, Atakumosa East, Irewole, Ife South, and Ife East LGAs. Out of the 1,955,657 registered voters in the state, 1,479,595 Permanent Voter Cards were collected before the election.
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Osun Election Tribunal Majority Judgment (27-JAN-2023)