Ismail Omipidan, a media aide to Gboyega Oyetola, immediate past governor of Osun, says Ademola Adeleke, the current governor of the state, will lose his appeal at the appellate court for a number of reasons.
Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the governorship poll held on July 16.
In August 2022, Oyetola and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), petitioned the tribunal to challenge the victory of Adeleke. Among several issues, Oyetola contended that there was overvoting in 749 polling units, across 10 LGAs of the state.
On the basis of Oyetola’s request, two out of the three-member panel of the tribunal held that the petitioner was able to prove that there was indeed overvoting in some of the polling units.
As a result, the majority judgment of the tribunal ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke.
The current governor of Osun has rejected the tribunal’s verdict and has filed an appeal against it.
In an interview, Omipidan said apart from making a case to the tribunal that there was overvoting in the aforementioned number of LGAs, his principal was also able to prove that Adeleke forged his certificate.
The former chief press secretary said all three judges of the tribunal agreed that Adeleke committed forgery.
“Apart from the issue of overvoting which we pleaded at the tribunal; we also challenged his (Adeleke’s) eligibility to contest for the election,” Omipidan said.
“It will interest you to know that all the three judges of the tribunal agreed with us that we were able to prove a forgery case against him (Adeleke) but that he had acquired additional qualification.
“In their (tribunal) wisdom, they said they think he was qualified to contest the election. I have gone further in my analysis of the judgment to state categorically that if we go by the popular saying that you cannot build something on nothing, those additional qualifications amount to nullity because the basis upon which those additional qualifications were acquired is faulty.
“We believe very strongly that when they appeal the judgment, the issue of disqualification will still feature prominently at the appellate court.”
Omipidan said he does not see how the minority judgment would be used to set aside the majority verdict at the appellate court.
“From my experience of covering the judiciary, the minority judgments are usually more in volume than the majority judgment most of the time.
“I do not see how the eight-page minority judgment can impeach the integrity of the majority judgment in this instance.”