THE Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, will, today, give its judgement on an appeal that Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State brought to contest the nullification of his election.
Adeleke and the Peoples Democratic Party, his political party, are pleading with the appellate court to overturn the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal’s decision to remove him from office.
In a split judgement made on January 27 by a three-member panel tribunal headed by Justice Tertsea Kume, Adeleke was declared the loser of the governorship election held on July 16, 2022.
In the majority judgement, the tribunal upheld a petition that was brought before it by the former governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who came second in the election.
It held that Adeleke did not score the majority of lawful votes, adding that the conduct of the election was not in substantial compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to the tribunal, the petitioners, Oyetola and APC, successfully established that there was overvoting in 744 polling units in the state.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the majority decision that sacked him from office, governor Adeleke took the case before the Court of Appeal.
In his 31 grounds of appeal, Adeleke, maintained that the decision was a nullity, pointing out that the second member of the panel, Justice Rabi Bashir, failed to render her opinion on the petition, either orally or in writing, but merely appended her signature on the judgement.
“The second member of the lower Tribunal could not have validly signed the decision of the chairman of the lower Tribunal without an opinion”, he argued.
Adeleke, through his team of attorneys led by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, further maintained that the tribunal determined the matter without examining the totality of material that was adduced before it.
When the panel diverted attention from the merits of the case and mentioned the embattled governor of Osun state’s dancing prowess, the governor accused the panel of being biased.
He claimed to the appellate court that, as opposed to the 744 polling places the tribunal had determined, the BVAS’ physical examination had revealed evidence of overvoting in just six polling places across the state.