The Court of Appeal in Abuja will today deliver judgments in three appeals and a cross-appeal filed against the majority judgment given in March 22, 2019 by the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal.
The court sent the hearing notices to parties yesterday.
The tribunal had, in the majority judgment given by two of its three members, upheld the petition by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the governorship election held in the state on September 22 and 27, 2018, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
The tribunal’s majority judgment reversed the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Adegboyega Oyetola and declared the PDP and Adeleke winners.
yetola, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) filed substantive appeals, seeking the setting aside of the majority decision. Adeleke filed a across-appeal, challenging a portion of the decision.
At the hearing of the appeals on April 24, Oyetola, the APC and INEC prayed the five-man panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Jummai Sankey, to set aside the majority decision of the tribunal, uphold their appeals and dismiss the October 16, 2018 petition by Adeleke and the PDP.
They equally urged the court to dismiss the cross-appeal filed by Adeleke, on the grounds that it is unmeritorious.
Wole Olanipekun (SAN),who argued the appeal by Oyetola, faulted the reasons given by the tribunal in reaching the judgment appealed against, arguing that the decision was not supported by the evidence led by the petitioners.
He urged the court to void the judgment because Justice Peter Obiorah, who wrote and delivered it, did not participate in all the proceedings of the tribunal.
Olanipekun noted that “the judge, who did not sit, came to write the leading judgment and reviewed the evidence of the February 6, 2019 proceedings where he was absent”.
“Adjudication is like video watching. It cannot be done by proxy. The judge cannot analyse the evidence of a witness, whose demeanour he did not observe. The judgment should be declared a nullity on this ground alone,” Olanipekun said.
Olanipekun, who said he and some named senior lawyers were at the tribunal on February 6, 2019, faulted the argument by lawyer to Adeleke and the PDP that it was not clear from the record of proceedings, whether or not Justice Obiorah was absent on the particular day.
He argued that the judge’s failure to sigh at the end of the proceedings on February 6,2019 was enough evidence to justify the appellant’s claim that Justice Obiorah was absent on the day in question.
Olanipekun also faulted the tribunal’s cancellation of results in 17 polling units in the state, and noted that the petitioners did not tender any result of the election before the tribunal.