Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of All Progressive Congress (APC) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to dismiss all four appeals filed by the Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Ademola Adeleke challenging his victory in the 2018 Osun Governorship election.
Adeleke had approached the apex court with appeals, marked: SC/553/2019; SC/554/2019; SC/555/2019 and SC/556/2019 aimed at upturning Oyetola’s declaration as winner of the election by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammad Tanko, leading six other justices fixed July 5 to deliver judgment on the appeal.
Tanko gave the date after Counsel for all the parties adopted their written addresses.
Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), Counsel for Adeleke and the PDP urged the apex court to grant prayers contained in his clients’ appeal by upturning the judgment of the Court of Appeal that affirmed Oyetola as validly elected governor of the state.
“My Lords we pray the court to set aside the judgements of the Court of Appeal and restore the majority judgment given in his client’s favour by the election tribunal,’’ he said.
On his part, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, prayed the apex court to dis countenance Adeleke’s prayer by affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
Similarly, Mr Yusuf Ali, SAN, and Mr Olumide Olujimi, Counsel for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC, respectively aligned themselves with Olanipekun’s submission as they urged the court to summarily dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
In arguing the fourth appeal marked SC/556/2019, Ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the two concurrent judgments of the election tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
NAN reports that both courts rejected Adeleke’s request to void the supplementary election held after INEC declared the Osun governorship election inconclusive.
Ikpeazu said his client’s contention was that INEC lacked the powers to have cancelled elections in some pooling units and order a rerun.
He argued that the supplementary election was unnecessary because his client had won the election and met the constitutional requirement to be declared winner.
Ikpeazu prayed the court to set aside the Paragraph 44 of the INEC’s Guideline, on which basis the supplementary election was held, as according to him is in conflict with the Constitution.
Mr Bode Olanipekun, SAN, who argued this particular appeal on behalf of his father (Wole Olanipekun) for the second respondent (Oyetola), urged the court to disregard Ikpeazu’s contention that the supplementary election was unnecessary.
He argued that Paragraph 44 of INEC Guidelines was not in conflict with the Constitution
Earlier in a motion, Olanipekun, Ali and Olujimi faulted the competence of the appeals and urged the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.
They prayed the court to uphold the May 9 judgments given in favour of the respondents by the Court of Appeal.
NAN recalls that the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal had on March 22 declared the PDP candidate as the duly-elected governor of the state, thereby setting aside Oyetola’s victory at the poll.
The tribunal held that the cancellation of results from seven polling stations across the state resulting in the conduct of the supplementary election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC violated the Constitution.
The state election tribunal therefore directed the electoral body to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Oyetola and issue same to Adeleke.
Dissatisfied with the decision, Oyetola, APC and INEC approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja with separate appeals challenging Adeleke’s declaration as governor by the tribunal.
The appellate went ahead to upturn the decision of the tribunal in a judgment on May 9 which re-affirmed Oyetola’s victory as governor of the state.
Also aggrieved with the decision, Adeleke approached the apex court urging it to set aside the judgment of the court of appeal and to restore the judgment of the tribunal.