By Adeleye Kunle
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State asked the Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo on Friday to annul the election of the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke.
According to the governor, the election was marred by irregularities.
He also claimed that Adeleke should not have been declared the winner because he was ineligible to run in the election in the first place, having submitted a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
According to Track News, Adeleke was re-elected by the INEC after defeating his closest challenger, Oyetola, and 13 other candidates, scoring a total of 403, 371 votes.
Oyetola received 375, 027 votes and won in 13 of the state’s Local Government Areas to finish second in the election.
Kunle Adegoke (SAN), a member of Oyetola’s legal team, told Tracknews immediately after filing the petition in Osogbo that the governor has assembled 50 lawyers, including 10 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, and has listed 13 grounds on which Adeleke should be disqualified.
Other members of the legal team who played important roles included Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Chief Akin Olujumi (SAN), Prince Biodun Layonu (SAN), and Muritala Abdulrasheed (SAN).
According to Adegoke, the election was marred by irregularities in many of the 749 polling units.
According to him, the legal team established through the petition that the election in those 749 polling units across 10 Local Governments in Osun State was marred by irregularities relating to over voting.
“We have no less than 50 lawyers, including 10 SANs, that we cannot list all of them, so we have listed about 20 lawyers in the petition,” Adegoke said. There are 13 reliefs. What we are contesting is that the election was marred by irregularities that led to the declaration of the winner, and that the petitioner, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola, should have been declared the winner on the grounds that Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke was not qualified to contest the election in the first place, having submitted a forged certificate to INEC.
“The second is that the election in 749 polling units was marred by irregularities, and the election in those units should have been declared invalid.” All of the polling units mentioned are in 10 of the 30 Local Governments.
“So, if the election in those units is nullified and the votes are cancelled, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola will meet the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the election.”
When asked when the trobinal would begin sitting, Adegoke said he didn’t know.
“We don’t know yet, but now that we’ve filed, it’s expected that once the PDP is served, their lawyers will file their own defense, after which we’ll file a response to their defense.” The tribunal will be able to provide a date at that point.
“Except if either of the two parties has an application that requires urgency, only then can the Tribunal hold an emergency sitting, but nobody knows the date as of now,” he explained.
Adegoke told Track News on July 19 that Oyetola may hire over 50 lawyers to challenge Adeleke’s victory.
“We are still reviewing documents, and the legal team is working,” he said. Because there will be so many documents in this election, it is critical that we examine them critically before making a decision, which is exactly what we are doing right now.
“The team is led by Dr Biodun Layonu (SAN). The legal team is not yet complete because many more people will be added.
“In the meantime, we can reveal two members of the legal team: Dr. Biodun Layonu and Kunle Adegoke.” Others who may arrive are people we do not know about, but we will notify the press as soon as we are ready to move.
“The membership cannot be determined because there are so many lawyers interested in joining the team.” You are aware that an election petition is a unique situation. As a result, we welcome as many lawyers as are interested. We may have 50 or more members.”
When contacted for comment, the Chairman of the Osun PDP’s Media Management Team, Prince Diran Odeyemi, stated that the party was not concerned about the petition.
According to him, many APC leaders who said the election results should be challenged before the tribunal lost elections in their wards, implying that the APC should have adopted a sportsmanlike attitude toward the election results.
“It’s too bad that APC didn’t believe in the spirit of sportsmanship.” We were expecting them to congratulate Adeleke. Many of those who are championing the cause of the tribunal were defeated in their polling units and wards.
“We’re curious what they intend to bring to the Tribunal now.” We are not afraid or worried because Oyetola cannot win. We’ll run into them at the tribunal. Concerning the allegation of a forged certificate, there is none. They are only looking for a way back into government through the backdoor. “The PDP is a meticulous political party that scrutinizes all of the certificates presented by the candidates,” Odeyemi concluded.
Oyetola tells Tribunal Sanya Agunbiade that Adeleke forged certificates.
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