The Osun Election Petitions Tribunal on Friday adjourned judgment in the petition filed by former Governor Gboyega Oyetol against the victory of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 16, 2022, governorship election.
The chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Tertsea Kume, reserved the judgment for a later day to be communicated to parties in the matter after the petitioner and respondents had adopted their final written addresses in Osogbo, the capital.
Mr Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had on August 5, 2022, submitted a petition before the tribunal in Osogbo.
Mr Oyetola and APC were challenging the election results from 749 polling units across 10 local government areas of the state for various alleged electoral malpractice, especially over-voting.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mr Adeleke as the winner of the governorship election, having polled 403, 271 votes against 375,027 polled by Mr Oyetola.
Earlier, Counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), in his final written address, said all documents and processes were filed and submitted on January 8.
Mr Fagbemi adopted all submitted written documents and objections on point of law and also argued all objections earlier filed by the respondents, asking the court to accede to all his submissions and requests.
Mr Fagbemi cited sections 51 (2) and 47(2) of the Electoral Act on the cancellation of polling units where the number of votes exceeded the number of registered and accredited voters.
Also, Akin Olujimi, SAN, counsel to Mr Oyetola, said the testimonial tendered by Mr Adeleke did not show that he attended Muslim Grammar School in Ede.
Mr Olujimi dismissed the claims by the respondents that Mr Adeleke was eligible to contest the election and he submitted that the testimonial that Mr Adeleke tendered was fake because it was obtained in 1988 from Osun State, while Osun was actually created in 1991.
According to him, the respondent should have pleaded that the mistake was a typographical issue but which they never did.
Mr Olujimi said all the documents tendered by the respondent’s counsel had no connection with each other, with no probative value.
INEC’s lawyer Paul Ananaba, SAN, in his own submissions, tendered to the court his final written addresses dated December 30, 2022, and filed the same date, with replies on points of law dated January 9 and filed January 11 respectively.
Mr Ananaba adopted all documents submitted as his final written address, saying the duty of INEC was to certify that the respondent, Mr Adeleke, was qualified to contest the governorship election which they did.
He said, “the petitioners complained of over-voting and infractions by picking 749 polling units to contend with from 1750 polling units, according to the first respondent witnessed (RW1).
”If the deduction of 1750 units was carried out from the total 3763 units in the state, the second respondent will still emerge as the winner with over 20,000 votes.”
Onyechi Ikpeazu, counsel to Mr Adeleke, also adopted all the tendered documents filed as its final written address and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petitioner’s application against his client.
Mr Ikpeazu said that the argument against Mr Adeleke’s certificates and eligibility to contest the governorship election had been addressed by the Court of Appeal.
On the issue of over-voting, Mr Ikpeazu told the court that certified true copies of documents of accreditation were done through the BVAS machines, adding that BVAS was the primary source of accreditation.
He further argued that extraction from the INEC database was not the same as extraction from the BVAS machines.
Mr Ikpeazu said that petitioners’ agents did not contest the results of any polling units on the day of the election, despite that they also signed the results which were authentic.
” The entries in form EC8A tallied with figures on the forms as being contended by the petitioners.
“You can not determine over-voting proper without the application of the BVAS machines,” he said.
Counsel to PDP, Alex Iziyon, SAN, also adopted all written documents filed and submitted on point of law.
Mr Iziyon said the issue of. certificate forgery as contended by the petitioners had been cleared in the judgment of the Court of Appeal and had no value.
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