Supreme Court affirms Adeleke’s election as Osun governor, seals Oyetola, APC’s defeat

The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, sealing his victory over then incumbent governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, in the keenly contested 16 July 2022 election in the state.

The judgement of a five-member panel, on Tuesday, upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which had earlier on 24 March affirmed Mr Adeleke’s victory.

It lays to rest the dispute over the outcome of the governorship election, and extinguishes Mr Oyetola’s hopes of coming back to office after his momentary victory at the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal gav in January.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Mr Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the election in an upset that deprived Mr Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) a second term in office.

Displeased with INEC’s result, Mr Oyetola had approached the election petition tribunal in Osogbo, the state capital, to challenge the outcome of the poll.

The tribunal in its decision in January ruled in favour of Mr Oyetola by declaring him the winner of the election, and sacking Mr Adeleke who was just months in office.

Mr Adeleke, who remained in office to exhaust his right of appeal, had appealed against the decision of the tribunal.

His appeal was successful.

Upholding Mr Adeleke’s victory, the Court of Appeal in Abuja held that the tribunal was wrong in its conclusion that that the election in some parts of the state was marred by over-voting, the pivotal legal issue on which MrOyetola built his case.

The court held that “the burden of proving the allegations of over-voting lies squarely with the respondents (Mr Oyetola and the APC).”

“It is inconceivable to assume that the testimonies of the respondents’ witnesses had any probative value,” the appellate court held.

The Court of Appeal noted that Mr Oyetola and the APC “did not tender the voter registers and Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS machines,” which captured data of eligible voters at the Osun governorship election.

“Though the 1st and 2nd respondents (Oyetola and APC) relied on BVAS reports obtained from INEC to prove over-voting, they did not, nonetheless, call petitioner’s witness 1 to speak to the reports, that is, Exhibits BVR reports from INEC’s back-end server.

“In their pleadings,” Mr Oyetola and APC “alleged that the results recorded and transmitted directly from the polling units were not taken into account and therefore accredited voters recorded in Form EC8A from the disputed polling units do not tally with the number of BVAS for the same polling units.

“Strangely, the tribunal, in its judgment, only relied on the table set out in an address of counsel to hold that over voting occurred in an election,” the Court of Appeal said.



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