Osun State since September, 2018 has been in the news for the wrong reasons after the gubernatorial election especially as not just opponents, but both local and international observers cried out against what they termed rape of democracy in Nigeria by the ruling party. However, the Election Petition Tribunal recently quashed and upturned the result of that election in favour of Senator Ademola Adeleke. CYRIACUS NNAJI writes.
Election Petition Tribunal verdict on Osun Gubernatorial Electon held in September 2018, to many, was not surprising giving the hullaballoo that trailed the election.
The tribunal said All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gboyega Oyetola was not properly elected, while at the same time declaring the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ademola Adeleke, as the duly election governor,
On behalf of members of the Tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo held that the returning officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should not have ordered for a rerun by cancelling elections in seven polling units on September 22, 2018.
In upholding Adeleke as the dully elected candidate, the tribunal deducted votes scored by Oyetola and Adeleke at the supplementary election and held to the original votes scored by the two candidates at the original election which Adeleke had won before the electoral body declared the election inconclusive.
The places where the rerun election took place include Ife North, Ife South, Oshogbo and Orolu local government areas of the state.
Accordingly, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 23 election said the Judiciary has demonstrated that it was the last hope of the common man. “Truly, the Judiciary is the last hope of the common and the defender of our democracy. Congratulations to Senator Ademola Adeleke.” While Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State said “Little by little under the rule of law, we shall recover all. Atiku is the next in line. Osun people, congratulations.”
However, the candidate of the APC, Oyetola, was still bold. He said the judgment could not stand as it could not stand any rigorous legal scrutiny: “The verdict cannot stand superior legal scrutiny. Therefore, we will appeal against it.”
The governorship election in Osun was adjudged the worst in history of Nigeria’s electoral experience. A correspondent with The Cable, who covered the rerun election, narrating his experience said “it was like a scene from a horror movie as political thugs unleashed violence on suspected PDP members.”
Furthermore, he said he was temporarily disallowed from accessing the venue of the rerun election even despite the fact that he identified himself as a reporter.
According to reports, where the thugs had a field day were Gbogo, Kajola and Idi Iya all in Orolu Local Government. In these communities, PDP supporters were prevented from assessing polling centres. Only APC supporters were allowed and they were identified through wrist arm bands and face caps which they had been allegedly issued by their party leaders.
To former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, it was victory for democracy “Let me take this opportunity to commend the tribunal for its courage in nullifying what was clearly an illegality. This action by the judicial officers, albeit a first step in the legal process, gives renewed confidence in the judiciary at a time when there are coordinated efforts by some political leaders to undermine, if not destroy, it.
Let me also commend Sen. Adeleke for his statesmanship in going to court to seek justice. This is the right and proper thing to do in any decent society. Going to court must be encouraged and not discouraged as some people are now attempting to do.
While I have refrained from commenting on the 2019 elections because one of the parties has gone to court, may I point out that those who call themselves our development partners and friends and preach sacrificing justice on the altar of so-called stability are enemies of justice, democracy and Nigeria.
We will continue to sustain Nigeria instability and unity on the altar of justice, equity, fairness, freedom, human rights and democracy. Stability cannot be successfully built on injustice, corruption, inequity, and divided nation, and incompetence, nepotism and one-sidedness.
Nigeria will march forward with or without those who will want to feed us with diet of values and actions that are not acceptable in their own countries. Nigeria is of age. And if Buhari could go to court three times to seek justice, even without reasonable cause, any Nigerian who feels denied of justice must feel free to go to court.
Those who have conceived and are promoting the narrative that if Atiku Abubakar continues to seek legal redress there will be violence, are evil minds looking for excuse to unleash violence on Nigerians. At no time in history has sustainable peace been built on theft, injustice, corruption and inequity.
These merchants of chaos and violence should have no place in any decent society.