A group of youths in Osun State under the aegis of the Osun Concerned Citizens on Wednesday protested judgement of the Osun Election Petition Tribunal on the September 22, 2018 governorship poll.
Last Friday, the 3-person tribunal ruled the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) governorship, Senator Ademola Adeleke, was the winner of the poll.
According to the Nation, at the peaceful protest, the youths, in their hundreds, marched round major streets of Osogbo, the state capital, from Ayetoro junction via Old Garage and Okefia to Olaiya area.
The youths, who carried placards with various inscriptions like “Oyetola remains our governor,”; “We voted for Governor Oyetola”; “We cannot be intimidated” among others caused a traffic gridlock for many hours.
Addressing the crowd, the General Secretary of the group, Comrade Yaya Ademola, said the protest was necessary to sensitise the people about issues associated with the Osun governorship election.
He noted the lacuna in the ruling of the tribunal, which declared Adeleke the authentic winner of the September 22, 2018 gubernatorial election.
Expressing optimism the Court of Appeal would overturn the tribunal judgment, he said any attempt to distort the majority votes would be resisted.
He said: “The said verdict, which is a split decision by which a majority of 2 of the 3 member Panel, purportedly declared Mr. Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 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 hasten 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 judgement to declare that the 29/09/2018 rerun illegal, on the basis that only Polling Officer and not Returning Officer could cancel results in the 7 Polling Units across the 3 Local Governments in the rerun does not arise.
‘’Neither the Polling Officer nor Returning Officer 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.’’
He added: “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.
“This situation is not peculiar to Osun. Below are some examples of rerun: a. 2011 Anambra Senatorial Election between leading APGA and ACN with a margin of 697 against the cancelled 7,930 votes. b. 2013 Anambra Guber Election between leading APGA and PDP with a margin of 79,754 against 113,113 cancelled votes. c. 2015 Imo Guber Election between leading APC and PDP with a margin of 79,529 against cancelled votes of 144,715.
“2015 Bayelsa Guber Election between leading PDP and APC with a margin of 33,154 against 120,000 cancelled votes.
e. 2015 Guber Election between leading leading APC and PDP with a margin of 41,353 and 49,953 cancelled votes.
“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 Charistmas 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 more so, 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.
“We shall not rest until true Justice is done in the final determination of all appellate proceedings. No to Jankara Justice! Osun electorate have spoken through their majority votes!! Attempts to obstruct our votes shall be vehemently resisted.”
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