Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and Governor-elect Ademola Adeleke are at war over election petition, as the tribunal is set to begin sitting today.
The Election Petition Tribunal had fixed September 26 for the beginning of sitting to hear the election petition on Osun 2022 governorship election, which Oyetola filed against Adeleke and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking the cancellation of 749 polling units because of alleged over voting.He wanted the tribunal to declare him as the winner.
Ahead of the sitting, the Chief Press Secretary to Oyetola, Ismail Omipidan, in a statement yesterday explained that the decision to challenge the outcome of the July 16 governorship poll should never be seen as an attempt to impugn on the integrity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He noted that Oyetola’s decision should rather be hailed as it was aimed at deepening the country’s democratic values and its electoral system.
He expressed confidence in the ability of members of the tribunal to do justice in the case, noting that the outcome would make INEC to fill some gaps that might have been noticed ahead of the 2023 general election.
“We are challenging his eligibility to stand for the election in the first instance, having purportedly been awarded a university degree barely 24 days after he acquired an equivalent of an ‘O’ level result. It is common knowledge that in 2019, Senator Adeleke faced criminal allegations of examination malpractice. He was granted bail, and then he travelled abroad and did not return until he came for this election.”
Adeleke hailed the judiciary for rejecting Oyetola’s application to relocate the tribunal sitting to Abuja. He called for sanction of Oyetola and All Progressives Congress (APC) over alleged subjudice media trial by the duo on the petition after the rejection by the President, Court of Appeal, of Oyetola’s request to relocate the tribunal sitting from Osogbo to Abuja.
“Our party as a law abiding organisation is, however, disappointed with the recklessness and utter disregard of Governor Oyetola and his team for the integrity and credibility of the judicial process. In the last few weeks, the petitioner has launched series of media publications, first alleging false admission, to over-voting by defendants, misrepresenting to the public the fillings of defendants, alleging complicity of the electoral commission through doctoring of court fillings and lately creating falsified election results to purportedly claim victory.”
He said: “As much as we have attempted to correct the counterfeited claims being an interested party, Oyetola and his team are so far incorrigible as they persist in their nefarious conduct of wilful pervasion of facts. We have therefore come to the conclusion that ongoing election data manipulation in public domain, if left unchecked by the tribunal, is capable of plunging the state into conflict ahead of the November 27 transfer of power.
“As the tribunal begins sitting, we urge Oyetola to demonstrate a measure of integrity by allowing the tribunal to treat his petition.”