18 June 2019

Nigeria: Oyetola's, Adeleke's Counsel Make Last-Minute Defence At Supreme Court

Abuja — Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeals filed by Senator Ademola Adeleke.

Adeleke was Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the September 2018 gubernatorial election in Osun State.In his appeals marked: SC/553/2019; SC/554/2019; SC/555/2019 and SC/556/2019, he is challenging the May 9, 2019 judgements of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which affirmed Oyetola of APC as Osun State Governor.

The Appeal Court had also set aside majority judgement of the election tribunal, which had upheld Adeleke's petition and declared him winner of the poll.After hearing the appeal, the seven-man panel of Supreme Court led by Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, fixed July 5 for ruling.

With the agreement of lawyers in the appeals, the court took submissions from Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) for the appellant and Wole Olanipekun (SAN) for Oyetola in respect of appeal marked: SC/553/2019.

The court stated that its judgement in the main appeal marked SC/553/2019 would be applied to two other appeals filed by Adeleke against the Court of Appeal's decision on the appeals filed by INEC and APC marked SC/554/2019 and SC/555/2019.

The court also took arguments from Ikpeazu, Yusuf Ali (SAN) for INEC; Bode Olanipekun (SAN) for Oyetola and Olumide Olujinmi for APC on the fourth appeal marked SC/556/2019.In their arguments, lawyers to the respondents- INEC, Oyetola and APC faulted the appeals and prayed the court to dismiss them for lack of merit.

The respondents prayed the court to uphold May 9, 2019 judgements of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Oyetola winner of the election held in September 2018.In relation to the first appeals, Ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the Court of Appeal judgements and restore the majority judgement given in favour of his client at the election tribunal.

But in a counter-argument, Olanipekun, Ali and Olunijmi faulted the competence of the appeals and urged the court to dismiss them for lack of merit.They prayed the court to uphold the May 9, 2019 Court of Appeal judgements in favour of the respondents.Arguing the fourth appeal, Ikpeazu urged the court to set aside the two concurrent judgements, which rejected Adeleke's request to void the supplementary election held after INEC declared the election inconclusive.

He, therefore, prayed the court to set aside paragraph 44 of INEC's guideline on which basis the supplementary election was held, arguing that the paragraph was in conflict with the constitution.Other members of the panel that heard the appeals are, justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Kumai Aka'ahs, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Amiru Sanusi, Paul Galunmje and Uwani Abbah-Aji.

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