Who is the Governor of Osun State? The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has annulled the 16 July Polls

The majority judgement, read by Justice Tertse Kume, said Adegboyega Oyetola scored the majority lawful votes over Ademola Adeleke. 

On Friday, the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo declared former governor Adegboyega Oyetola to be the duly elected governor of the state over Ademola Adeleke, who emerged victorious in the 16 July 2022 elections.

The majority judgement, read by Justice Tertse Kume, said Oyetola scored the majority lawful votes of 314,931 against Adeleke’s 290,266. Kume held that the tribunal observed over-voting in 744 polling units, spanning ten local councils including Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore, Ejigbo, Ila, Ilesa West, Irepodun, Obokun, Olorunda and Osogbo.

 According to Kume:

The defences of the respondents are taint with fundamental flaws, irreconcilable and unreliable, incapable of defeating the credible evidence tendered by the petitioners in respect of the 744 polling units where over-voting has been established. The inference we hereby draw from the fact established by the evidence and record is that the election conducted on the 16th day of July, 2022, was done in substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and extant regulations.

Kume then asked the commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Adeleke and issue the same to Oyetola.

However, the minority judgement, read by P. Ogbuli, disagreed with the majority judgment, saying that the two Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) reports presented by the petitioners and respondents were marked with inconsistencies. As such, the majority judgment should have considered the results of the physical extraction from BVAS, because it is the primary source of data of which the petitioners did not oppose.

On 16 July 2022, INEC declared Adeleke as the winner of the Osun governorship election. The returning officer, vice chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, announced that Adeleke won with a total of 403,371 votes over Oyetola who got 375,027 votes and won in 13 local government areas.

At ends with the result, Oyetola moved to nullify the election, claiming it had been marred with ‘irregularities’. On 05 August 2022, actions at the Election Petitions Tribunal in Osogbo, the state capital, began.

The petition was brought on three grounds: first, that Adeleke was not qualified to contest based on his academic qualifications; second, that Adeleke was not elected by the majority of the electorate; and third, that the election conducted by the INEC was not in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

While the tribunal carried on with its proceedings, on 27 November 2022, Adeleke was sworn in as the Governor of Osun State.

Both parties have since responded to the tribunal’s decision to annul the July 16 polls. Adeleke, who intends to appeal, has described the judgement as ‘a miscarriage of justice’, and the resolution of the over-voting question as ‘an unfair interpretation against the will of majority of voters’.

Oyetola has voiced his satisfaction with the tribunal’s verdict, saying:

I am happy the judgment has resolved the controversy of the July 16 governorship election. INEC is the greatest beneficiary of the judgment. It will afford INEC the opportunity to look at all the anomalies and make necessary amendment to prevent such mistakes again now that the general election is coming.

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