Osun: Group protests, rejects tribunal judgement

A group, Osun Concerned Citizens, on Wednesday, protested the tribunal judgement that declared Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the September 22, 2018 governorship election in Osun state.
The group, who barricaded Osogbo, the state capital in their hundreds, included students of higher institutions, market women and traders.

They carried placards of various inscription such as: “No To Kangaroo Judgement”, Oyetola Is The Peoples’ Choice”, “Osun Voted Oyetola”, “On Oyetola Mandate We Stand.”

Speaking with news men, the General Secretary of the group, Yaya Ademola, condemned the ruling of the panel, describing it as “strange and baseless.

“The said verdict, which is a split decision by which a majority of 2 of the 3 members Panel, purportedly declared Mr. Ademola Adeleke of the PDP as winner of the September 22 and 29, 2018 Governorship Election is clearly unacceptable to us and the overwhelming majority of the people of Osun in general and the Electorate in particular.

“Our rejection of the said verdict is borne out of the clear fact that it is a thinly disguised attempt at clothing the product of a black-market judicial heist with the garb of legality in the hope that it may acquire legitimacy.

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“Notwithstanding the fact that a proper legal response to this unjust verdict has been entered at the Court of Appeal, we hasting to say that the basis with which the majority judgement was made is strange and baseless.

“In the first instance, the claim of the majority judgement to declare that the 29/09/2018 rerun illegal, on the basis that only PO and not RO could cancel result in the 7 Polling Units across 3 Local Governments in the rerun does not arise. Neither the PO nor RO cancelled elections in the affected areas. Elections didn’t take place. Where it did, it was disrupted with ballot boxes snatched and carted away with no returns.

“In Orolu, Ife South and Ife North, elections were disrupted with no returns. In Unit 017, Ward 5 , Osogbo LG, election did not hold at all and no returns. Under this circumstance, it is a settled case at the Supreme Court in James Faleke vs INEC (2016), that where the difference between the two leading candidates will be determined by the votes of places where elections didn’t hold or disrupted, there will be rerun. This situation is not peculiar to Osun.

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The group cited 2011 Anambra Senatorial Election between leading APGA and ACN, 2013 Anambra Guber Election between leading APGA and PDP, 2015 Imo Guber Election between leading APC and PDP, 2015 Bayelsa Guber Election between leading PDP and APC, and 2015 Guber Election between leading leading APC and PDP, as examples.

The group insisted that the petitioner didn’t  prove that election took place or there were returns in the affected areas, saying “he did not even plead that the rerun is illegal.

“How could the Majority of 2 out of 3 deduct votes in 23 units merely for the fact that INEC did not properly fill Form EC8A? How could 23 units of the entire 3,010 could be substantial enough, assuming it is non-compliance with electoral rule for Judges to alter votes of the people moreso, when the Petitioner didn’t demand for it? If it is substantial enough, would it not make better sense to pronounce rerun in the 23 units instead of the algebra, subtraction and addition with which the majority 2 turned themselves?

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“We are concerned and indeed alarmed that rather than adjudicate in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Electoral Act that emphasises Substantial Compliance or lack of it or want of it as the basis for proving the validity or otherwise of the election of a candidate, the majority decision of the Tribunal arbitrarily pitched its tent with the formal irregularity of the failure of INEC to fill certain columns of the Result Sheets even when they do not affect the number of votes scored by candidates! This amounts to a disingenuous working to a predetermined answer.

The group said “we shall not rest until true Justice is done in the final determination of all appellate proceedings. Attempts to obstruct our votes shall be vehemently resisted.