Saturday 18 May 2019

Ademola Adeleke Files Notice of Appeal at Supreme Court

The gubernatorial candidate of the People's Democratic Party in the 2018 election, Senator Ademola Adeleke has filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court against the decisions of the Court of Appeal , praying the apex court to set aside the ruling of the appeal court and uphold the decision of the Osun election petition tribunal.

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.

Dissatisfied with the result declared by INEC, the PDP and Adeleke had filed their petition before the three-man Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, contending that they were the true winner of the election as they had already won after the September 22, 2018 poll. The three-member panel said during its ruling that the rerun election that held on Sept. 27, 2018, was illegal.

The tribunal, therefore, deducted the votes scored by the APC candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, in the rerun after declaring the rerun illegal.

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal nullified the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had declared the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, as the winner of the September 2018 poll.

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 Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State challenging the verdict of the tribunal and affirmed him as duly elected

Delivering the lead majority judgment of the four members of the panel, the court resolved 10 out of the 12 issues raised in favour of Oyetola and the two others in favour of Ademola and his PDP.

The Court of Appeal’s majority judgment was primarily 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.

The appellate court in the majority judgment delivered declared that the decision of the tribunal, which sacked Oyetola as governor, a nullity and consequently set aside the entire proceedings of the tribunal.

The tribunal upheld the submission of Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) that the petition was incompetent from the beginning and that it was the tribunal itself that amended it and granted the reliefs not sought by Adeleke.

Justice Sankey noted that the Court of Appeal ordinarily having set aside the entire proceedings of the tribunal ought to order a retrial of the case, however, the appellate court could not order a retrial because the 180 days provided by the law for election petition has elapsed.

Three other members of the panel, Justices Abubakar Yahaya, Isaiah Akeju, and Bitrus Sanga, agreed with Justice Sankey.

There was also a dissenting judgement from one of the judges on the panel, but majority favoured Oyetola.  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.

Now, Dr Onyeachi Ikpeazu, SAN  leading six other Senior Advocates of Nigeria and 17 other senior counsels had however this week filed four appeals against each of the four majority judgements of the appeal court.

The appeals were against majority judgement in favour of Gboyega Oyetola, All Progressives Congres, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the striking out of the cross appeals of Senator Adeleke.

The first Appeal was against the majority lead judgement delivered by Justice J.H.Sankey, it is premised on 13 grounds. Senator Adeleke is seeking the following reliefs from the Supreme court;
*To allow the appeal

*Set aside the judgement of the appeal Court delivered in favour of Oyetola,and *Dismiss Oyetola's appeal against the decision of the Tribunal.

The second appeal is against the judgement delivered in favour of the APC, is premised on 31 grounds of appeal. Senator Adeleke listed particulars of errors committed by the appeal court and sought the following reliefs from the Supreme court:

* To allow this appeal.

* Set aside the decision of the appeal court and *Dismiss the appeal of the respondent against the judgement of the tribunal.

The third judgement appealed against was the ruling in favour of INEC, it is based on 17 grounds Senator Adeleke listed particulars of errors committed by the judges of Appeal Court and sought the following:

* An order of the supreme Court allowing his appeal,

An order of Supreme Court setting aside judgement of Court of Appeal and restoring the judgement of tribunal delivered on  the 22ndof March.

The fourth judgement appealed against was that against the cross Appeal based on 13.While listing particluars of errors committed by the Appeal Court, Senator Adeleke seeks the following reliefs from the Supreme Court namely;

* an order allowing this appeal and setting aside decision of lower court which dismissed the appeal;

*An order granting reliefs sought in appellate case in the cross Appeal

*An order restoring the paragraphs struck out from appellate replies to the 2 and 3 respondents replies;

* Adeclaration that the appelants won the election in issue by a wider margin than what was found by the lower tribunal in view of the substantial non compliance with the electoral act 2010 as amended; and

*A declaration that the rerun of 27th was null and void and of no effect as the appelants had already won the election in issue upon conclusion of the 22nd September election

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