Ahead of the July 5th fixed by the Supreme Court to deliver judgement in the September 2018 governorship election in Osun State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is seeking the face of God for the verdict to go in its favour.
Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is challenging the return of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC at the Supreme Court.
Already, the Osun State chapter of the ruling party yesterday organised a special prayer session, seeking a favourable judgement at the nation’s apex court.
The prayer session, which was held at the state secretariat of the APC in Osogbo, the state capital, had all the local government chairmen, councillors, state Exco members, local government and wards chairmen as well as religious leaders and other party faithful in attendance.
Islamic and Christian prayers were offered by clerics.
Speaking at the event, the Osun State chairman of APC, Prince Gboyega Famoodu, said it is important that they seek God’s face ahead of the Supreme Court judgement fixed for July 5th.
He said: “We believe in the power of prayer and our prayers had definitely been answered since the Almighty God is not unjust and cannot be. We are very optimistic that the judgement will favour us, as the entire people of Osun State had spoken through their votes. Ours is victory and victory is guaranteed.
“We, therefore, charge people of the state and its environs to serve as watchdogs in their various environments and pray for victory over the judgement and pray for peace to reign in the state to enhance unprecedented developments.”
The Supreme Court yesterday fixed July 5 to deliver its judgement in the 2018 governorship election in Osun State.
The apex court set the judgement date after listening to arguments from counsel in four of the appeals challenging the outcome of the election.
Adeleke of the PDP 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 Oyetola, his party, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeals filed by the PDP candidate, Adeleke, on the grounds that they lacked merit and substance.
At the hearing yesterday, the seven-man panel of the court, led by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, heard the appeals and adjourned till July 5, 2015 for judgement.
By the agreement of counsel 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 judgement 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 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, counsel 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 judgements 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 petitions 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 order.
Ikpeazu argued 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.
“My Lords, we pray the court to set aside the judgements of the Court of Appeal and restore the majority judgement given in my client’s favour by the election tribunal,” Ikpeazu said.
On his part, Olanipekun prayed the apex court to discountenance Adeleke’s prayer by affirming the judgement of the Court of Appeal.
Similarly, Mr. Yusuf Ali (SAN) and Mr. Olumide Olujimi, counsel for INEC and the APC, respectively aligned themselves with Olanipekun’s submission as they urged the court to summarily dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
They prayed the court to uphold the May 9 judgements given in favour of the respondents by the Court of Appeal.
The Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal had, on March 22, declared the PDP candidate as the duly-elected governor of the state, thereby setting aside Oyetola’s victory at the poll.
The tribunal held that the cancellation of results from seven polling stations across the state resulting in the conduct of the supplementary election by the INEC violated the Constitution.
The state election tribunal, therefore, directed the electoral body to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Oyetola and issue same to Adeleke.
Dissatisfied with the decision, Oyetola, APC and INEC approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja with separate appeals challenging Adeleke’s declaration as governor by the tribunal.
The appellate went ahead to upturn the decision of the tribunal in a judgement on May 9 which re-affirmed Oyetola’s victory as governor of the state.
Also aggrieved with the decision, Adeleke approached the apex court urging it to set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal and to restore the judgment of the tribunal.