FCT, Abuja – Though it’s not over yet, Senator Ademola Adeleke will heave a sigh of relief as the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday, March 24, affirmed his election as the governor of Osun state.
Adegboyega Oyetola, the immediate-past governor of the state, is challenging the victory of Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 16 July 2022 election.
Oyetola had earlier won at the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo.
The tribunal upheld the allegation of over-voting in the areas won by Governor Adeleke and declared Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the poll after deducting “unlawful votes” from the PDP’s scores.
Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgement, Governor filed an appeal, urging the appellate court to set it aside and reaffirm his victory.
On Friday, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Mohammed Shuaibu agreed with Adeleke’s arguments.
The judges unanimously overturned the earlier decision of the tribunal which nullified the Osun governor’s victory earlier in January. They also the sum of N500,000 as a cost against the APC and Oyetola.
Here are three key reasons why the appellate court gave the verdict in favour of Governor Adeleke.
Tribunal’s conclusion on over-voting was wrong
According to the appeal court, the tribunal was wrong to conclude that there was over-voting during the governorship election.
It held that the burden of proving the allegations of over-voting lies squarely with Oyetola and the APC, Premium Times reported.
Oyetola and APC failed to present voters’ registers and BVAS to prove allegation
The appeal court also held that 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.
According to the judges, whether there was overvoting at the polling units or not can only be proved by the evidence that is contained in the voter register and BVAS machines.
Governor Adeleke defecting to APC soon? PDP reacts to rumour
In another report, rumours of Governor Adeleke dumping the PDP for the APC have been dismissed.
The Osun state chapter of the PDP described the rumour being spread on social media as fallacious and cheap lies.
In a statement signed by its caretaker chairman, Dr Akindele, the party claimed the rumour emanated from the APC.