Yesterday, Wednesday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) filed an appeal against the Election Petition Tribunal’s decision invalidating Ademola Adeleke’s election as governor of Osun State on July 16, 2022.
44 reasons for appeal were outlined by INEC in the Notice of Appeal dated January 30, 2023, submitted to the Court of Appeal, Akure Division.
The electoral body requested that the Court of Appeal vacate the Tribunal’s decision.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and Gboyega Oyetola, the APC’s nominee for governor, filed a petition, which the commission asked the court to reject for lack of merit.
Recall that Adeleke was sacked by majority judgement of 2 to 1 on January 27th 2023 because of over-voting in 744 polling units during July 16th 2022 gubernatorial election, while the candidate of APC, Adegboyega Oyetola(former governor) was declared governor after cancellations were made.
At the end of the poll in July, Adeleke polled 403,371 while Oyetola garnered 375,027 but tribunal deducted 60,096 illegal votes from Oyetola while 112,705 votes were cancelled from Adeleke’s votes.
After the deduction, Oyetola scored 314,931 while Adeleke got 290,666. However, in the notice, Appeal No: CA/AK/ with Petition No: EPT/OS/GOV/01/2022, 44 grounds of law were used to counter the judgement of the tribunal stressing that the tribunal erred in law.
INEC joined Adegboyega Oyetola, APC, Ademola Adeleke and Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the suit, as the electoral umpire through its counsel, Professor Paul Ananaba, held that, “ The lower Tribunal erred in law when they failed to consider and rule on the various preliminary objections filed by the 1st Respondent/Appellant challenging the competency of the petition and jurisdiction of the Election Petition Tribunal to hear the Petition but proceeded to determine the merit of the Petition.”
Ananaba also added that the decision of Tribunal to sack Adeleke was not a majority judgment because the other panel member, Rabi Bashir did not make any pronouncement after Justice Tertse Kume read the judgement and her name was not written on the said judgement.
“ The decision of Hon. Justice T.A Kume, which was signed by Member 2, is not a majority decision. Section 294 (2) Of the 1999 Constitution (as amended makes it mandatory for all judges that sat in the hearing of a matter or election petition to not only express their individual opinion in writing but also at the time of judgment to make pronouncement on same by herself or another panel member.
“The provisions of Section 294 (2) Of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is applicable to any court or tribunal that sits in a panel of two or more members. iii. Tribunal Member 2(Rabi Bashir Chief Magistrate) failed to either express her individual opinion in writing at the time of the judgment nor make any pronouncement in support of Member 1 or the Chairman of the Tribunal during the judgment on Friday January 27, 2023.
“The Judgment of the lower Tribunal was titled Judgment (Delivered by Honourable Justice Tertsea Aorga Kume) The name of Member 2 was not included on the title of the judgment of the lower Tribunal.”
While opposing the tribunal judgment on certificate forgery, the counsel stated that “It is trite law that to prove whether a certificate was forged or not the party making the averment must present the genuine certificate/attestation with the alleged forged certificate/attestation. It’s not every discrepancy or mistake in a document that is forgery.”
He continued, “For forgery to be proved there must be genuine proof of forgery. The Petitioners failed to prove how the Petitioner got to know that the document was forged, who told him and the particulars of the person, what are the details as to time, place and circumstances of the information.
The Petitioners/Respondents failed to produce any evidence from the said institution that the said certificate/ attestation was forged.”