The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has nullified the electoral victory of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State and declared his closest rival, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gboyega Oyetola, as the winner of the governorship election.
Declaring its verdict on Friday, January 27, 2023, in Osogbo, the Tribunal voided the result declared by the electoral commission (INEC), which gave victory to Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in in the June 16, 2022 governorship election.
The Tribunal premised its verdict on the fact that the governorship election was not held in compliance with Nigeria’s Electoral Act.
Consequently, the Tribunal headed by Justice Terste Kume directed INEC to withdraw the certificate of return earlier issued to Adeleke and his deputy, Kola Adewusi, both of whom have since been sworn in and ordered that the certificate of return should be reissued to Oyetola of the APC.
Giving its judgement, the Tribunal held that the governorship election was characterized by over-voting, saying, after deducting the excessive votes, the figure Oyetola polled at the election was 314, 921, as a result of which it ordered that Oyetola should be returned as governor of Osun State.
Earlier in the governorship INEC declaring Adeleke as the winner said he polled a total of 403,371 votes after winning in 17 of the 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Osun State, while Oyetola of the APC won in the remaining 13 LGAs with 375,027 votes.
Other 13 candidates also participated in the keenly contested governorship election between Adeleke and Oyetola, making the total number of contestants 15.
Oyetola, who is the immediate past governor of Osun State, had, in his petition, claimed that the election was characterized by over-voting in 749 polling units and also argued that Adeleke forged the academic credentials he submitted to INEC to contest for the election.
However, according to judicial processes, Adeleke reserves the right to appeal the Tribunal ruling and will remain in office pending the final determination of the matter by superior courts, that is both the Appeal Court and finally by the Supreme Court.
Recalled the tribunal began its sitting in August 2022, shortly after the governorship election attending to the case filed by the petitioners, Oyetola and the APC, through counsels led by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and Akin Olujimi (SAN), with INEC as the first defendant, Adeleke the second defendant and PDP the third defendant.
The counsels who appeared for INEC, the PDP and Oyetola are Paul Ananaba (SAN), Alex Iziyon (SAN) and Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) respectively All the counsel are senior advocates.