Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has nullified the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, as winner of the September 2018 poll and affirmed Gboyega Oyetola, candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as winner of the election.
In a dissenting judgment of four-to-one, the five-man panel led by Justice Jummai Sankey, the Court of Appeal upheld the appeal filed by Oyetola challenging the verdict of the tribunal and affirmed him as duly elected
The lead majority judgment of the four members of the panel, the court resolved 10 out of the 12 issues raised in favour of the governor and the two others in favour of Ademola and his PDP.
The Court’s majority judgment was mainly anchored on the alleged absence of a member of the tribunal, Justice Peter Obiorah, who read the lead majority verdict of the tribunal, during the February 6, 2018 proceedings of the tribunal.
Justice Sankey held that absence of Justice Obiorah on that date nullified the entire proceedings and the verdict of the tribunal.
Three other members of the panel, Justices Abubakar Yahaya, Isaiah Akeju, and Bitrus Sanga, agreed with Justice Sankey.
However, a member of the panel, Justice George Mbaba, dissented from the majority judgment, holding that the alleged absence of Justice Obiorah from the February 6, 2018 proceedings of the tribunal was mere speculation.
INEC had declared Oyetola and the APC the winner of the Osun State governorship election on the basis of the cumulative results of the September 22, 2018, main election and the September 27, 2018, supplementary poll.
But the PDP and its candidate challenged the electoral body’s decision at the tribunal and got judgement in their favour.
The tribunal, in its March 22, 2019, split judgment of two-to-one, nullified Oyetola’s victory and declared Adeleke and the PDP the winner of the election.