By Bukola Olasanmi
The Supreme Court will today (Friday) give judgement in the four appeals filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
A seven-man panel led by Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad had, after hearing the appeals on June 17, 2019 fixed July 5, 2019, for judgment.
Adeleke and the PDP are, by their four appeals, marked: SC/553/2019; SC/554/2019; SC/555/2019 and SC/556/2019, challenging the May 9, 2019 judgments of the Court of Appeal, Abuja which affirmed the election of Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the Governor of Osun State.
The Court of Appeal also set aside the majority judgment of the election tribunal which had allowed Adeleke’s petition and declared him winner of the election.
By agreement of lawyers in the appeals, the court on June 17, 2019 took arguments from Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), for the appellant, and Wole Olanipekun (SAN), for the 1st respondent (Oyetola), in respect of appeal marked: SC/553/2019.
The court said its judgment in the main appeal – SC/553/2019 – will be applied to two other similar one, filed by Adeleke against the Court of Appeal’s decision in relation to the appeals filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC,marked: SC/554/2019 and SC/555/2019.
The court also took arguments from Ikpeazu (for the appellant), Yusuf Alli (SAN) for INEC; Bode Olanipekun (SAN) for Oyetola and Olumide Olujinmi, for APC in relation to the fourth appeal, marked: SC/556/2019.
In their arguments, lawyers to the respondents – INEC, Oyetola and the APC faulted the appeals and prayed the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.
The respondents prayed the court to uphold the judgments as given onMay9, 2019 by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which affirmed Oyetola of the APC as the winner of the governorship election held in september 2018.
In relation to the first set of appeals – SC/553/2019; SC554/2019 and SC/555/2019, ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the judgements of the Court of Appeal and restore the majority judgment given in his client’s favour by the election tribunal.
In a counter-argument, Wole Olanipekun, Alli and Olunijmi faulted the competence of the appeals and urged the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.
They prayed the court to uphold the May 9 judgments given in favour of the respondents by the Court of Appeal.
In arguing the fourth appeal: SC/556/2019, Ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the two concurrent judgments of the election tribunal and the Court of Appeal, in which both courts rejected Adeleke’s request to void the supplementary election held after INEC declared the Osun governorship election inconclusive.
Ikpeazu said his client’s contention was that INEC lacked the powers to have cancelled elections in some pooling units and order a rerun.
He argued that the supplementary election was unnecessary because his client had won the election and met the constitutional requirement to be declared winner.
Ikpeazu prayed the court to set aside the Paragraph 44 of the INEC’s Guideline,on which basis the supplementary election was held,on the grounds that it conflicted with the Constitution.