The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo on Friday nullified the election of Gov. Ademola Adeleke of PDP.
The chairman of the three-member panel, Tertsea Kume, who read the judgement, said the July 16, 2022 Governorship Election was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.
Mr Kume said that there was indeed over voting in 744 polling units in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
He said that it was the duty of the tribunal to deduct the valid votes cast from the over-voting.
He said that after the deduction of valid votes scored by the candidates from the observed over-voting, Gboyega Oyetola of APC polled 314,931, while Adeleke polled 290,266 votes.
“For the sake of emphasis, the total lawful votes for each of the candidates after the deduction of the invalid votes were 314,931 for the first petitioner.
“For the second emphasis, the total lawful votes for each of the candidates after the deduction of the invalid votes is 314,931 votes for the first petitioner and 290,266 votes for the second respondent.
“Consequently, the second respondent did not score a majority lawful votes cast for the election.
“The second respondent cannot “go low low low” and “buga” as a duly elected governor of Osun in the election conducted on 16th July, 2022.
“Rather, we hereby hold that the first petitioner scored a majority of lawful votes cast in the election and he is hereby returned duly elected.
“The first respondent (INEC) is hereby directed to withdraw the certificate of return issued to the second respondent and issue it to the first petitioner as the duly elected governor of Osun, accordingly,” Mr Kume said.
He further said that the request of the respondent’s Counsel for the voters’ register in the disputed polling units was not correct.
He also said that the declaration of Adeleke as the duly elected governor of the state was null and void.
The tribunal, however, ruled that Adeleke was qualified to stand for the election because the alleged certificate forgery could not be established.
It said that the BVAS report submitted by the petitioner as an exhibit was admitted, while PDP’s objection to the document was dismissed by the tribunal.
Meanwhile, one of the Judges, B.A. Ogbuli, in his minority judgement, said he agreed with the majority decision of the tribunal that Mr Adeleke was qualified to contest the election.
Mr Ogbuli, however, said that the petitioner’s witnesses “did not adequately prove that there was over-voting in BVAS machine report”.
He said: “The issues number two and three, which relate to the second ground of the petition, I, with utmost difference, disagree with the analysis of the evidence laid by the tribunal .
“The evidence of PW1 was inconsistent and thoroughly shaking under cross-examination, apart from errors and inconsistency in Paragraphs 33 and 37 of the written statement.
“We admitted specifically that BVAS machine is the primary source of the results, which he claimed he analysed.
“But he never used the BVAS to prove or analyse BVR exhibit in paragraph five of the written statement,” Mr Ogbuli said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Oyetola approached the tribunal on August 5, 2022, seeking a nullification of Mr Adeleke’s election.
He challenged the results from 749 polling units in 10 LGAs of the state for various alleged electoral malpractices, especially over-voting.
INEC had declared Adeleke as duly elected, having polled 403,271 votes against Mr Oyetola’s 375,027 votes.
Meanwhile, Mr Adeleke has described the judgment as “a miscarriage of justice”.
In a statement issued to newsmen by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, he vowed to appeal the judgment.
Mr Rasheed faulted the tribunal’s decision on over-voting in favour of Oyetola, describing it as “an unfair interpretation against the will of a majority of voters.
“I call on our people to remain calm.
“We will appeal the judgement and are sure justice will be done.
“Let our people be reassured that we will do everything possible to retain this widely acclaimed mandate,” Mr Rasheed added.