▪ As Oyetola, APC, INEC ask court to dismiss suit
By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Supreme Court has fixed July 5 to deliver its jugment in the Osun State governorship election conducted in the State in September 2018.
The apex court fixed the Judgment date after taking arguments from counsel in four of the appeals challenging the outcome of the election.
Senator Ademola Adeleke had filed four appeals marked: SC/553/2019; SC/554/2019; SC/555/2019 and SC/556/2019, challenging the return of Adegboyega Oyetola as winner of the poll.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeals filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke on the grounds that they lacked merit and substance.
On Monday, a seven-man panel of the court, led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, heard the appeals and chose July 5, 2015 for judgment.
At the resumed hearing, by agreement of lawyers in the appeals, the court took submissions from Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) for the appellant and Wole Olanipekun (SAN) for the 1st respondent (Oyetola) in respect of appeal marked: SC/553/2019.
The court said its judgment in the main appeal – SC/553/2019 – will be applied to two other similar ones, filed by Adeleke against the Court of Appeal’s decision in relation to the appeals filed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (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.
However, Ikpeazu while moving Adeleke’s appeal prayed the Supreme Court to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division and restore the majority decision of the state election petition tribunal which declared Adeleke as the winner.
The appellant counsel informed the court that INEC was wrong in cancelling election in seven polling units and conducting a supplementary election without a court.
Ikpeazu said that paragraph 44 of the INEC guidelines used to cancel the election and conducting the supplementary election was in violation of section 179 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that the appellant had already met Constitutional provisions to be declared as the winner of the election without the supplementary election.
He therefore pleaded with the apex court to resolve all the issues in favour of his client.