In a verdict delivered on Thursday morning, the Court of Appeal nullified the verdict of the Osun Election Petitions Tribunal and declared Gboyega Oyetola as the validly elected Governor of Osun State.
The Election Petitions Tribunal had earlier ruled in favour of Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the September, 2018 governorship election. Oyetola, who was returned elected by the Independent National Electoral Commission, however appealed the judgment of the Tribunal.
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 Adeleke and 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.
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 February 6, 2018 proceedings of the tribunal was mere speculation.
Since electoral matters are hardly ever left at the appellate level, the matter is expected to proceed to the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land.