The Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has declared Senator Ademola Adeleke, the Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the state 2018 governorship election.
The Tribunal held that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gboyega Oyetola, was not validly returned.
On Friday, the Osun Election Petition Tribunal ruled that the supplementary election held in some polling units in Osun State in September 2018 was illegal.
Two of the three members of tribunal nullified the election of the incumbent governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola, who was the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election.
The Muhammad Surajo-led tribunal took the decision following an application filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ademola Adeleke, who had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of colluding with the APC to subvert his victory at the elections.
INEC had on September 22, 2018 declared the election inclusive because the gap between Senator Adeleke who won the majority votes of 254,698 against Oyetola’s 254,345 votes is less than the number of registered voters in the polling units where votes were cancelled which was 3,498.
Consequently, the INEC presiding officer, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, said a rerun must be organized to determine the winner.
INEC consequently conducted a rerun on September 27, 2018 in the polling units which the APC candidate won and was declared winner despite obvious electoral irregularities.
After the final total, Oyetola got 255,505 votes to defeat PDP’s Adeleke who got 255,023 votes.
Senator Adeleke however rejected the supplementary election and accused INEC of partisanship, adding that INEC violated the provisions of the law by organising a rerun.
Two of the members of the tribunal, Peter Obiora and Adegboye Gbolagunte, agreed with the Adeleke’s lawyer, Onyeachi Ikpeazu (SAN), that there was substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the law in 17 polling units.
The panel further agreed with the PDP candidate that the INEC returning officer who announced the cancellation of the results in the polling units had no power to do so.
The tribunal however disagreed with Adeleke’s application relating to over-voting, saying that the PDP candidate failed to prove the allegation of over-voting.
“The petitioner (Mr Adeleke) having fulfilled the constitutional requirements and scored the majority lawful vote is declared winner and returned as governor.
“The rerun in the seven cancelled units are hereby declared null and void and of no electoral effect,” the tribunal consequently ruled.
The Tribunal then ordered INEC to withdraw the Return Certificate issued to Oyetola and issue a new Return Certificate to Mr. Adeleke.
According to Section 143 (1) (2) of the Electoral Act, where a candidate who election has been nullified notifies parties of his appeal within 21 days, he shall continue to enjoy the benefits of that office and shall not be deterred from doing so till the appeal is determined.
Therefore, APC’s Oyetola, will still remain the substantive Governor of Osun State pending the determination of his appealin the Appeal Court and Supreme Court.