The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ogun State made a surprising political move following the victory of its Governorship candidate, Ademola Adeleke at the Election Petition Tribunal.
The PDP on Tuesday urged Governor Gboyega Oyetola to shelve any plans for appellate review of a judgement that sacked him as governor last week, Premium Times reports.
The election petitions tribunal for the September 2018 governorship election in Osun State declared Ademola Adeleke winner of the election in its March 22 ruling. The tribunal found that the supplementary election that held on September 28 to make up for the inconclusive September 22 poll was illegal. It, therefore, deducted the scores of both major candidates, and found that Mr Adeleke was the true winner based on the results of the initial ballot.
Nigerian politicians have always appealed such judgements to the highest applicable jurisdiction, and Mr Oyetola is expected to appeal the ruling without delay. Challenges to governorship and presidential election terminate at Supreme Court, while the Court of Appeal has the final say on complaints arising from parliamentary polls.
The PDP said since Mr Oyetola is a Muslim, a religion that “teaches fairness, equality, peace and truthfulness, he should search his conscience and ask this pertinent question ‘did I truly win the governorship election’”?
Diran Odeyemi, a PDP spokesperson, in a statement Tuesday, described Mr Oyetola as ” a refined gentleman, very religious but whose gubernatorial election was favourablymanipulated by APC and INEC to discredit his person and personal belief and we believe he will not want his integrity to be dragged into the mud.”
Mr Odeyemi said it was long acknowledged by local and international observers that the governorship poll was manipulated for Mr Oyetola against the overall verdict of the electorate, but the governor could still atone for his alleged wrongdoing by immediately vacating office for Mr Adeleke.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Osun State governorship tussle to see how the whole issue will be settled at the end of the day. Will APC win even if it appeals against the judgment? Or will PDP still win the appeal? Who will carry the day in Osun State at the end of the legal battle? These are some of the questions that only time will tell.
The PDP’s advice contradicts its position on the outcome of the presidential elections, which its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has challenged.
Following repeated demand by supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari for Mr Abubakar to abandon tribunal petition, the PDP said both itself and its candidate would see the case through, including to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Mr Abubakar last week submitted his petition for the tribunal to declare him winner of the presidential election, alleging manipulation of results, falsified identity documents by Mr Buhari, amongst other grounds.
The case of Mr Abubakar against Mr Buhari is still generating serious attention and much more interest as it is a national electoral matter. Moreover, the PDP and Mr Abubakar have been making fresh revelations on the election rigging claims which appear very serious that Nigerians would like to know how they could prove their case in court against the APC and Mr Buhari.
In all these, Nigerians are watching to see how all these legal tussles will be resolved. The court has a great role to play in settling these post election issues peacefully.
In another development, the Federal High Court, Abuja, has adjourned until May 7 a suit seeking the disqualification of President Muhammadu Buhari and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, over alleged excess spending on campaigns.
The presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Usman Ibrahim-Alhaji, dragged the duo to court alleging that they both spent over N1 billion each on campaign expenses. Mr Ibrahim-Alhaji prayed the court to invoke Section 91(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 to nullify the participation of Messrs Buhari and Abubakar in the February 23 presidential election for allegedly violating the Electoral Act 2010.
The plaintiff through his counsel, Ezekiel Ofou, alleged that by spending over N1 billion each, the two violated the electoral law and were liable to be removed as contestants in the election.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Mr Ofou informed the court that he had served the processes on Messrs Buhari and Abubakar through substituted means as was ordered by the court on March 5.
He, however, acknowledged that even though they were yet to respond, according to the law, they had up till 30 days within which to respond.
He added that since they were served on May 22, they had until April 22 to respond, thereby asked the court for an adjournment to enable the defendants to file their responses.
The judge, Ahmed Mohammed, agreed with the counsel and adjourned the matter until May 7 for further mention. Mr Mohammed said since the defendants were still within time to respond, it could not be adjourned for hearing, but rather for further mention.
On the last adjourned date, Mr Ofou said he found it extremely difficult to serve the court papers on the two, who were the main defendants in the suit because of the retinue of security around them. Mr Ofou then moved an ex parte motion in which he prayed the court for an order of substituted service on the two major defendants which was granted by the judge.
Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.