The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2018 Osun State governorship election, Ademola Adeleke, has declared he would contest yesterday’s Appeal Court verdict at the Supreme Court.
The court in Abuja had set aside an earlier judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal, which nullified the victory of Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
In a majority judgment of four to one, the court nullified the judgment of the tribunal delivered by Peter Obiorah on the grounds that Obiorah relied on the evidence of two witnesses, which he did not observe. Justice Jummai Sankey consequently declared the tribunal’s decision a nullity and set it aside.
But in a statement made available to newsmen in Osogbo, the Osun State capital yesterday, Adeleke said he received the judgment with dissatisfaction, vowing: “I have instructed my counsel to prepare for an appeal against today’s judgment at the Supreme Court immediately.”
He claimed the ruling “relied on a weak technical foundation” as “the substantive issue, which formed the basis of the lower tribunal’s judgment, was relegated to the background.”
He insisted: “We are reviewing the full ruling and action has already commenced to appeal the judgment and ensure the eventual retrieval of the stolen mandate.”
According to him, “We are taking the legal battle further to the topmost court in the land. I am confident the apex court will upturn today’s unsustainable ruling.”
He told members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State and his campaign organisation: “The struggle is now at the most critical stage. We cannot waiver or slow down. We must forge ahead in high spirit until final victory is attained.”
PDP national vice-chairman (southwest), Eddy Olafeso, also decried the judgment, saying: “We are certainly thinking, and importantly, in conjunction with our candidate, Ademola Adeleke, to exploit the only available option to us by appealing against this decision at the Supreme Court.”
In a statement issued to journalists in Akure, Ondo State capital, yesterday, he maintained that the “APC did not fairly win that election and President Buhari gave this view credence when he publicly described the victory of his party as ‘remote controlled’, thereby confirming that power privileges were criminally abused by his government and party.”
Similarly, the Osun State chapter of the party described the verdict as shocking, expressing optimism that the apex court would turn the tables.
“We have hope in the judiciary. That does not mean that once in a while there won’t be some hiccups in the judicial process. It is understandable and expected that all judges are not the same and they don’t think the same way. We believe that at the end of the day the Supreme Court will do justice to our case and victory will be ours,” party chairman, Soji Adagunodo, said in a statement.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) welcomed the Appeal Court judgment. “There has been a lot of expectations and anxiety on both sides until this morning when the judgment was given in favour of the APC,” said Osun State APC spokesman, Kunle Oyatomi in a statement.
According to him, “This judgment has put the records straight much beyond the controversy over last November’s governorship election.” He added: “We believe it is time to move on and concentrate efforts on the transformation work that started in 2010 and which the people have mandated Governor Gboyega Oyetola to continue and improve upon.”
Oyetola meanwhile said the victory proved there was a limit to the extent falsehood and propaganda could thrive over truth and the will of the people.
Reacting to the judgment, he said: “After months of uncertainty and wait in judicial wilderness, truth has finally prevailed over falsehood and the voice of the majority has ultimately gained dominance over the phoney manipulation of an unscrupulous minority.”
He also thanked the people of the state for their “robust support and steadfastness throughout the needless periods of political travail and tribulation.”