The Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 affirmed the election of Mr Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Osun State.
The Supreme Court said his rival, Mr Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), failed to prove his case of improper accreditation of voters and over-voting against Mr Adeleke.
A five-member panel of the apex court held that the court of appeal correctly reinstated Mr Adeleke as governor.
The judgment was affirmed and adopted by all the members of the panel.
According to all the members of the panel, the appeal lacks merit.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mr Adeleke as the winner of the Osun governorship election held in July 2022.
INEC Returning Officer for Osun, Mrs Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said Mr Adeleke polled 403,371 votes to defeat his closest challenger Mr Oyetola, who polled 375,027 votes.
However, a three-member panel of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal headed by Mr Terste Kume set aside Mr Adeleke’s victory in its verdict delivered on 27 January.
In a two-to-one split judgment, the majority decision of the tribunal declared Mr Oyetola as the winner of the election.
But in late March, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Mr Mohammed Shuaibu unanimously overturned the earlier decision of the election petition tribunal, which nullified the governor’s victory in January.
The immediate-past governor, Mr Oyetola, who came second in the July 16, 2022 election, had filed a petition challenging Mr Adeleke’s victory.
The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Osogbo, which upheld the allegation of over-voting in the areas won by Mr Adeleke, had declared Mr Oyetola the winner of the poll after deducting “unlawful votes” from the PDP’s scores.
But Mr Adeleke appealed against the lower court’s decision, urging the appellate court to set it aside and re-affirm his victory.
Mr Shuaibu, who prepared and read the lead decision, said, “The burden of proving the allegations of over-voting lies squarely with the respondents (Mr Oyetola and the APC).”
“It is inconceivable to assume that the testimonies of the respondents’ witnesses had any probative value,” the appellate court held.