Oyetola versus Adeleke
The Court of Appeal sitting at Abuja, few days ago nullified the judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had ealier declared the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Senator Ademola 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 Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State challenging the verdict of the tribunal and affirmed him as duly elected.
The Hope Classic went round the town to speak with Nigerians. Excerpts:
Mr Femi Owolafe, an Akure-based legal practitioner
The Appeal Court in its wisdom gave the judgement on a mere technical ground. Technicality in law, sometime, does not count. But at this stage, they rely on it.
Instead of five-man panel in Osun, four members sat in their unanimous judgement and affirmed Adeleke Ademola as the winner of the Osun State, gubernatorial election.
But for Appeal Court to have nullified the tribunal verdict, was on a mere technical ground. That is, if it is to be five-man panel, Court of Appeal would have affirmed the decision of tribunal in Osun. But since you cannot put something on nothing, the whole proceeding processes are faulty, ab initio, on the ground that the law says five-man panel. But now, the exclusion of one member caused the nullification.
There is nothing anybody can do. Law is law. But since Adeleke Ademola, said he is going to the Supreme Court so be it. But I wonder how the Supreme Court will affirm the lower tribunal because if any process or action is dissent and a judgement is given, no correction or remedy, so you cannot but be right at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will still affirm the same person.
In conclusion, the judgement that was delivered by the Appeal Court was on a technical ground. The five- man panel to four-man panel, must be legally constituted.
Mr Olukorede Obaditan, an Osun-based legal practitioner
As far as I am concerned, the judiciary was fair with the judgment, it has done its best. The verdict of the Appeal Court was given based on the facts before them.
When the tribunal declared Senator Ademola Adeleke winner, some of us thought there were some other issues not being treated.
“The 17 units which caused the imbroglio was the main suit filed at the tribunal because the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP said there were alleged manipulation at the polling units.
” The appellant claimed that election never took place in those units, which are; Ife South, Ife North, Orolu and part of Osogbo.”
This allegation can only be affirmed, if substantial evidence is being tendered.
There’s is a saying in law, “everybody knows the law, but whatever the court says, is the law.”
Politicians and political parties must know how to put things in order. The prejudice at the last election led to rerun and what we have today.
Mr Charles Oladipo, an Osun-based legal practitioner
The May 9, 2019 Appeal Court judgment lacks merit to the “stare decisis” of the tribunal verdict.
If the judgment was based on the absence of a judge while neglecting the evidences before it, then justice is not yet served.
The suit filed by the PDP was on the rerun at some polling units which was considered unnecessary and unconstitutional.
I believe justice will be served at the end. All I am after is the suit filed being addressed and not the circumstances in the process of the hearing.
There is room to challenge the verdict of the Appellate Court at the highest court.
Mr Tolu Babaleye, an Abuja-based legal practitioner
It is a judgement that has been delivered in the wisdom of court of appeal Justice. There is still another step which is the Supreme Court, but in my own opinion I will say the judgement is wrong because court ought not to visit the fault of the panel onto the litigant.
If we consider the reasons given by my Lordship, he said the proceeding of the panel ab initio, is illegal, just because they said the chairman did not sit on the panel and judgement was delivered. Is it the fault of the litigant who brought case to the court? How is that suppose to be visited on him?
I think it is not good enough. But we are waiting for the Supreme Court to make his pronouncement.
Mr Ade Adetimehin, APC chairman in Ondo State
The judiciary is the last hope of a common man. When there is dispute between two political parties, the best is to approach the court to adjudicate and give final judgement on any issue.
As it is todays, court has given the verdict that All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election squarely and has affirmed the genuiness of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in conducting a free and fair election. With that, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), should take it in the spirit of sportsmanship. You win some, you lose some.
Four years is around the corners. They should go back and prepare. At the same time Governor Oyetola, should settle down and deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of Osun State having been given the mandate to rule them for the next four years.
All I know is that, Governor Oyetola, is a man with integrity and he has a great record of achievement. He will never let the people of Osun down. He has been in government and he knows the rudiment of government. He is used to it and the party has confident in him that he will not disappoint his people.