Frankly speaking, in my personal view and estimation judging from my long years rich experience of following tribunal proceedings, I think Oyetola and APC have come to stage a drama at the tribunal and waste the time of the court. His election petition struggle has almost capsized, and it is bound to crash. Best described, it is an adventure leading to mere goose chase and how do I mean? Oyetola’s star witness came to the court and disclosed that he did not go round the units where his client is contesting.
He was only at his mono unit and nowhere else. He truly confessed also that he did not have anything to do nor get closer to the BVAS machines thus alluding that his analysis are totally based on hearsays. He also confessed not to have used vital INEC election details forms such E40g, which has to do with the results they are supposed to challenge. He dealt a fatal blow on Oyetola’s case when in his witness statement, which is before the tribunal, he hinted that he was hired by Governor Ademola Adeleke. It is a natural procedural norm that you can not build something on nothing.
Be that as it may, the second leg of their headache in the petition is about the qualification or what they ignorantly termed as the ineligibility of the Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke. In that, they are making a hoax that Adeleke forged his certificate or has no certificate at all. However the crux has long been settled up to the supreme court of Nigeria in favour of the Defendant.
The highest court in the land had validated that Senator Ademola Adeleke is eligible to contest election as Governor in Osun State long ahead, before 2022. The courts have also separately held that Senator Ademola Adeleke is not guilty of any forgery. He has never been convicted. If anything, he got discharged and acquitted on similar trump up charges. Therefore, the tribunal bat best and normally can only make their own finding which can not be opposite what has been established.
Besides, no tribunal will review the resolutions reached by higher courts such the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Nigeria. Oyetola has missed it and will end up compounding his woes after an imminent legal humiliation from the tribunal court.
The INEC in defense through its witness who is a senior staff of the commission defended the results of the July 16th governorship election that produced Senator Ademola Adeleke under Peoples Democratic Party PDP. The INEC Deputy Director averred that no overvoting can be proven without linking the BIVAS machines with the voters’ register and result sheets which Oyetola’s witness alluded he did not carry out. That lone minus became a serious basis for the determination of the 2014 tribunal case between Senator Iyiola Omisore and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola which Omisore lost because his star witness could not link the register of voters with the election result sheets.
Conversely, the Senator Ademola Adeleke’s star witness, eloquently listed all the sources of his findings when he mounted the tribunal’s witness box to include the BIVAS machines, the voters’s register, all relevant form ecg40 forms as well as forms ec8a. Oyetola is not coming anywhere! If he will ever come, it will be for his likely probe panel to explain the malfeasance under him for the 4 years that he was robed as a Governor on the people.
It should be on record that Oyetola accused baselessly that Adeleke forged school certificates but he never invited the schools as witnesses. WAEC was not summoned either. Governor Ademola Adeleke’s secondary school management was left out too. So how did Oyetola hope to establish his false claims?
Conclusively, it is instructive to say that INEC, PDP and Senator Ademola Adeleke have all reposed the confidence of the electorates in them by their meticulous defense of the popular mandate. With the believable conclusions of the defense star witness which put PDP eventual votes at over 402,000 as against APC about 374,000 votes after fair deductions of controversial votes of over 700 against APC and slightly above 1000 PDP votes out of the existing figures, it is trite to tell those who have ears that the Osun State 2022 Governorship Election substantially complied with standard best practice and in line with that laws guiding electoral exercise. Perfection is of God alone. Never again, will Osun State pray for a Leader like Oyetola. Freedom is here, the Light has come.
It should therefore be a simple obligation for the tribunal panel to base on the facts presented before them so far until this point where all the cases are now rested in anticipation of the final written addresses stage, to affirm the wishes of the electorate as reflected in the outcome of the July 16th gubernatorial election in Osun State. May the peace, tranquility, and orderliness being enjoyed presently in Osun State under Governor Ademola Adeleke continue to radiate till the complete ending of his constitutional length of maximum service in Osun State.
Akintunde Bello Sheriff ABS is a public affairs veteran