By Yetunde Oladejo, Osogbo
A group, Osun Concerned Citizens has described the recent verdict by the Osun Governorship Election Petition Tribunal as a legal error saying it is not more than ‘Jankara Justice’.
The group on Wednesday trouped out to the street of Osogbo, the Osun State capital to staged a peaceful protest against the judgment given by the tribunal sitting in Abuja last week Friday.
Armed with placards with various inscriptions such as “Oyetola remained our Governor”, We voted for Governor Oyetola, “We cannot be intimidated”, among others, the group said they reject the judgment in its entirely.
Addressing journalists at Ayetoro, where the protesters converged, the General Secretary of the group, Yaya Ademola insisted that “Their rejection of the said verdict is borne out of the clear fact that it is a thinly disguised attempt at clothing the product of a black-market judicial heist with the garb of legality in the hope that it may acquire legitimacy.”
Ademola maintained that the basis with which the majority judgment was made is strange and baseless.
According to him, “The said verdict, which is a split decision by which a majority of 2 of the 3 members Panel, purportedly declared Mr. Ademola Adeleke of the People Democratic Party as winner of the September, 22 and 29, 2018 Governorship Election is clearly unacceptable to us and the overwhelming majority of the people of Osun in general and the Electorate in particular.
“Our concern in this matter is not just a partisan disavowal of a judgment that is unfavourable to our preferred candidate, Mr. Isiaka Gbeyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Party. Our rejection of the said verdict is borne out of the clear fact that it is a thinly disguised attempt at clothing the product of a black-market judicial heist with the garb of legality in the hope that it may acquire legitimacy.
“Notwithstanding the fact that a proper legal response to this unjust verdict has been entered at the Court of Appeal, we hasting to say that the basis with which the majority judgement was made is strange and baseless. In the first instance, the claim of the majority judgment to declare that the 29/09/2018 rerun illegal, on the basis that only PO and not RO could cancel result in the 7 Polling Units across 3 Local Governments in the rerun does not arise. Neither the PO nor RO cancelled elections in the affected areas. Elections didn’t take place. Where it did, it was disrupted with ballot boxes snatched and carted away with no returns.
“In Orolu, Ife South and Ife North, elections were disrupted with no returns. In Unit 017, Ward 5 , Osogbo LG, election did not hold at all and no returns. Under this circumstance, it is a settled case at the Supreme Court in James Faleke vs INEC (2016),that where the difference between the two leading candidates will be determined by the votes of places where elections didn’t hold or disrupted, there will be rerun.
“Again, the Petitioner didn’t prove that election took place or there were returns in the affected areas. He did not even plead that the rerun is illegal. When has Court become a father Charismas who gives what was not prayed for to declare the rerun illegal?
“Again, how could the Majority of 2 out of 3 deduct votes in 23 units merely for the fact that INEC did not properly fill Form EC8A? How could 23 units of the entire 3,010 could be substantial enough, assuming it is non-compliance with electoral rule for Judges to alter votes of the people moreso, when the Petitioner didn’t demand for it? If it is substantial enough, would it not make better sense to pronounce rerun in the 23 units instead of the algebra, subtraction and addition with which the majority 2 turned themselves?
“We are concerned and indeed alarmed that rather than adjudicate in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Electoral Act that emphasises Substantial Compliance or lack of it or want of it as the basis for proving the validity or otherwise of the election of a candidate, the majority decision of the Tribunal arbitrarily pitched its tent with the formal irregularity of the failure of INEC to fill certain columns of the Result Sheets even when they do not affect the number of votes scored by candidates! This amounts to a disingenuous working to a predetermined answer.
“Under Civil Rule, Electorate votes determine who governs the State and it is by simple majority. Election Tribunal cannot substitute itself for the electorate role – vis-a-vis voting.
Osun Concerned Citizens stand for Democracy and Justice. We firmly believe that the Electorate in Osun had spoken and the attempt by the majority decision to turn the Tribunal into a ‘’Selectotate’’ shall be resisted.”
The group vowed that it will not rest until true Justice is done in the final determination of all appellate proceedings saying “No to Jankara Justice! Osun electorate have spoken through there majority votes. Attempts to obstruct our votes shall be vehemently resisted.”