On Friday, the Court of Appeal in Abuja overturned the decision of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which had removed Governor Ademola Adeleke from office on January 27, 2023. The appeal court’s decision came after Adeleke filed a 31-point appeal challenging his removal from office.
Senator Adeleke, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, had won the Osun governorship election held on July 16, 2022, but the result was nullified by the tribunal due to over-voting. In response, the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, former governor Gboyega Oyetola, petitioned the tribunal, alleging that Adeleke was not qualified to contest the election and that there was over-voting in 749 polling units across 10 local government areas of the state.
The tribunal agreed with the APC’s arguments and ordered Adeleke’s removal from office. However, in its recent decision, the Court of Appeal held that the tribunal had erred in not addressing Adeleke’s preliminary objection to Oyetola’s petition. The appellate panel also found that Oyetola had proved that there was over-voting in some polling units, but not enough to invalidate the entire election.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Adeleke and issue a new one to Oyetola, who will be recognized as the duly elected governor of Osun. The court also ordered the first and second respondents to pay N500,000 each to the appellant.