From Lateef Dada, Osogbo
The Election Petition Tribunal set up to look into alleged discrepancies in the July 16 governorship election in Osun State would commence sitting today.
Secretary of the tribunal, David Umar told Daily Sun that the pre-trial would begin and the parties have been duly notified.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, in a statement, yesterday, explained that the decision of his principal to challenge the outcome of the election was not an attempt to impugn the integrity of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but aimed at deepening the country’s democratic values and electoral system.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the members of the tribunal to do justice in the case before it, noting that the outcome would go a long way in making INEC fill some gaps that might have been noticed ahead of the 2023 general election.
“Apart from the fact that we are challenging his eligibility to stand for the election in the first instance, having purportedly been awarded a university degree barely 24 days after he acquired an equivalent of an O’level result, we are equally challenging the election results in 749 polling units across 10 local governments.
“It is a common knowledge that in 2019, Ademola Adeleke faced criminal allegations of examination malpractice. He was granted bail, and then he travelled abroad and did not return until he came for this election.
“Interestingly, as of 2018, he had no O-level results. But upon his return, he claimed he has a diploma, awarded to him mid-last year and that the said certificate qualified him for a B.Sc in Criminal Studies or so, 24 days after getting the said diploma certificate.
“Again, recall that after the election, we applied for the BVAS report. INEC availed us of the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the report. We filed our petitions in court. But INEC later issued another CTC to the PDP, claiming that at the time the first one was issued to us, they had not synchronised the data in the BVAS. The question will now be, “what was the basis of declaring the election results?” Is INEC right to have issued two BVAS reports that do not align? These and many more are some of the issues the tribunal will be helping us to resolve in the days ahead, and we are very confident in the ability of the tribunal to deliver justice in the matter,” Omipidan said.
Also, in a statement by its state caretaker Chairman, Adekunle Akindele, the PDP accused Oyetola of undermining the judiciary, calling for sanction of the governor by the tribunal.
“If the defeated governor fails to retrace his steps, we urge the tribunal to invoke relevant sanctions against him and his party for undermining the judiciary, misinforming the public, doctoring court documents, attempting to bring the court into disrepute and pre-empting decisions of our lord justices.
“We repeat for the sake of all lovers of democracy that all false election graphics being circulated by APC are figments of their imagination. The official results of the July 16 elections remain the authentic results. That victory of Adeleke is what all defendants are defending as evidenced in their fillings at the Tribunal. We make bold to say that none of the defendants admitted to any electoral error but rather holistically articulated data and facts which authenticated the electoral victory of Adeleke,” PDP said.