The Supreme Court has slated July 5 for judgment in the appeal by PDP candidate in the Osun governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke challenging the election of Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
A seven-member panel of justices presided by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, yesterday, fixed the date after listening to submissions from the parties in the matter.
The apex court also reserved for judgement the amended briefs of argument by Adeleke and replies by INEC, APC, and Governor Oyetola.
Adeleke filed four appeals challenging the May 9, 2019 judgments of the Court of Appeal, Abuja and restored the majority judgment of the Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja.
Arguing the appeals yesterday, Adeleke’s counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) asked the apex court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal, adding that the supplementary election of September 27, 2018 was unnecessary since Adeleke had already satisfied the constitutional requirement by scoring the highest lawful votes cast in the main election of September 22, 2018.
In the fourth appeal filed by the PDP, Ikpeazu argued that the INEC official did not have quasi-judicial function to cancel the result of the elections in some polling units and order a rerun. He said only the election tribunal could make the cancellation.
He asked the court to set aside Paragraph 44 of the INEC Guidelines relied on for the rerun election for being in breach of Section 178(4) of the Constitution.
In their counter affidavits and objections, lawyers to Oyetola, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Bode Olanipekun (SAN), INEC Yusuf Ali (SAN) and APC’s Olumide Olujimi asked the apex court to dismiss the appeals by Adeleke and PDP for lacking merit and being incompetent.
Bode Olanipekun submitted that Section 178(4) of the Constitution is not applicable in the circumstance of the case as the entire state is the jurisdiction of the electoral umpire.
“Where elections have not held in the entire state, the appellant (Adeleke) cannot contend that he won the election, as against the 2nd respondent (Oyetola), who won the election as conducted across the whole of the state,” Olanipekun said.