The Supreme Court in a split judgment of five to two on Friday upheld the election Gov Adeboyega Oyetola of Osun.
In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour,on behalf of the five judges in favour, the court held that the proceedings and judgment of trial tribunal a nullity on the grounds that Justice Peter Obiorah was absent in court on Feb. 26.
The two dissenting judges are Justice Kumai Akaah and Justice Paul Galinje.
NAN reports that the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Ademola Adeleke, had approached the apex court following the decision of the appeal court to pronounce Gov. Oyetola as the winner of the election.
Adeleke prayed the court to uphold the ruling of the Osun Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that pronounced Adeleke as the legal winner of the election and discard the judgment by the appeal court.
Oyetola’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) together with the counsel representing the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Yusuf Ali (SAN), and the All Progressives Congress counsel, Olumide Olujinmi, all urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal and retain Oyetola as the governor.
NAN also reports that on May 9, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal nullified the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which declared 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 Gov. Oyetola, 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 Obiorah, who read the lead majority verdict of the tribunal, during the Feb. 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.
But a member of the panel, Justice George Mbaba, dissented from the majority judgment, holding that the alleged absence of Justice Obiorah from the Feb. 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 Sept. 22, 2018, main election and the Sept. 27, 2018, supplementary poll.