TRACKING>>The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed to challenge yesterday’s verdict of the Court of Appeal that upheld the election of Mr. Gboyega Oyetola as governor of Osun State.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Oyetola, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the election.
But the Election Petition Tribunal nullified Oyetola’s election and declared Senator Ademola Adeleke of the PDP winner of the poll, consequent upon which Oyetola challenged the tribunal’s ruling at the appellate court.
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, upturned the tribunal’s ruling and affirmed Oyetola’s election in a majority of four justices to one.
Reacting to the ruling, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said Adeleke and the PDP will challenge the judgment.
The party said: “It’s not in any way shaken by the judgment of the Court of Appeal, but rather stands with Nigerians in the confidence that justice and respect for the will of the people of Osun state will definitely prevail at the apex court.”
It insisted that the will of the people, which it claimed was given to Senator Adeleke by the people of Osun, will not be allowed to be taken away.
The PDP noted that the fact the Court of Appeal had a split judgment indicated that justice was not fully served at the appellate court.
It said: “It is instructive to state that the Court of Appeal did not contest or invalidate the fact that Senator Adeleke won the election but only cited technicalities and speculations to arrive at its decision.
“The PDP has also noted that the Court of Appeal failed to act on the full and substantial import of the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the ballot papers and record of accreditation to disprove our position that INEC altered results and subverted the will of the people of Osun State.
“Our party and candidate are therefore confident that the Supreme Court will look at the merit of the matter and ensure that justice is served.”
Senator Adeleke vowed to challenge the verdict before the Supreme Court.
He said, in a statement, that he was disappointed by the judgment, which reversed the judgment of the election tribunals, which upheld the petition he and his party filed against the outcome of the election.
Adeleke, representing Osun West Senatorial District, said: “I received with dissatisfaction the judgement of the Court of Appeal on the ruling of the election petition tribunal which had duly returned me as the validly elected governor of Osun state.
“I have subsequently instructed my counsel to prepare for an appeal against today’s judgement at the Supreme Court immediately.
“Today’s judgement relied on weak technical foundation.The substantive issue which formed the basis of the lower tribunal judgement was relegated to the background.
“We are reviewing the full ruling and action has already commenced to appeal the judgement and ensure the eventual retrieval of the stolen mandate.
“To the good people of Osun state, don’t be downcast. The struggle for good governance and retrieval of People’s mandate cannot be truncated by any flawed judgement.
“We are taking the legal battle further to the topmost court in the land. I am confident the apex court will upturn today’s unsustainable ruling.
“To all members of PDP in Osun State and my campaign Organisation, the struggle is now at the most critical stage.
“We cannot waiver nor slow down. We must forge ahead in high spirit until final victory is attained. In this endeavour, I promise to provide the leadership as the genuine governorship mandate holder in Osun state.
“My good people of Osun state, I know the pain and suffering you are passing through. The move to reclaim your mandate is still very much alive despite the jaundiced ruling of today.
“We will not abandon the mandate you freely conferred on us. We will deploy all legal means to retrieve the stolen mandate. I appreciate the massive support from home and abroad. We shall triumph at last.”