Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have all asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the four appeals filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Meanwhile, the apex court has fixed July 5, 2019, to deliver judgment on the multiple appeals which were consolidated at yesterday’s hearing session.
Senator Adeleke in his four appeals marked: SC/553/2019; SC/554/2019; SC/555/2019 and SC/556/2019, is challenging the May 9, 2019 judgments of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which affirmed the election of Oyetola of the 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.
Yesterday, a seven-man panel of the court, led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, heard the appeals and fixed July 5, 2015, for judgment.
On Monday, by agreement of lawyers in the appeals, the court took submissions from Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) for the appellant, and Wole Olanipekun (SAN) for the first respondent (Oyetola) in respect of appeal marked: SC/553/2019.
The court said its judgment in the main appeal – SC/553/2019 – would 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 INEC and the APC, marked: SC/554/2019 and SC/555/2019.
The court also took arguments from Ikpeazu (for the appellant), Yusuf Ali (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 on May 9, 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.
While canvassing arguments 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 judgement of the election tribunal.
However, counsel to the respondents, Wole Olanipekun, Ali and Olunijmi, challenged the competence of the appeals and urged the court to dismiss them for lacking in merit.
In their counter submissions, they prayed the court to uphold the Court of Appeal judgment delivered on May 9, 2019, in favour of their clients.