PDP, INEC: Why Osun governorship tribunal judgment can't stand

Gboyega Oyetola and Ademola Adeleke

APC's Oyetola and PDP's Adeleke

By Joshua Oladipo

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC have faulted the judgment of Osun Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal judgment delivered on Friday with vow to upturn the verdict at the appeal court.

The tribunal had, in its judgment, declared former Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of All Progressives Congress, APC, as the authentic winner of the July 16, 2022 governorship election in the state a 2-1 split decision.

However, another member of the three-man panel delivered a minority judgment in which he affirmed Governor Ademola Adeleke of PDP as the winner of the election.

But speaking to journalists after the delivery of the judgment, Counsel to PDP, Mr Nathaniel Oke, faulted the tribunal’s verdict.

He added that necessary legal step to challenge the judgment would be embarked upon by the PDP in order to get Adeleke’s mandate back.

He said that the majority judgment might not be the position of the court, adding, however, that the PDP stood with the minority judgment which, he said, showed the true picture of what transpired at the election.

“You will recall that it was only two people who gave judgment in respect of the July 16, 2022 election,” he said.

Oke said Adeleke’s mandate would be retrieved at the appellate court.

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In his own reaction, INEC’s Counsel Prof. Paul Ananaba, also faulted the judgment.

“The tribunal chairman delivered what is called majority judgment; the second member of the panel gave a dissenting judgment while the third thanked everybody at the tribunal.

“These are the issues we will have to look into and get back to the commission. Anybody who listened to today’s judgment will know that only two people delivered the judgment and not three.

Further faulting the tribunal’s judgment, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria added that the Biomodal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS) was the primary source of what transpired on the day of the election.

According to him, a report issued after the election cannot be used as the primary source of what transpired on the election upon which the results would be declared.

Ananaba urged the people of the state to remain calm, assuring them that all the legal options would be explored to get Adeleke’s mandate back.

On the contrary, Counsel to APC, Dr Abiodun Layonu, thanked the tribunal for restoring the victory of Oyetola as the winner of the governorship election.

Layonu also thanked Mr Akin Olujimi (SAN) and Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for leading Oyetola to victory at the tribunal.

He said that the judges at the tribunal considered the option of declaring Oyetola as winner in a majority judgment.

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