See Why Supreme Court Upheld Adeleke Victory As Osun State Governor
- May 10, 2023
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The Supreme Court, while delivering judgment in the Osun state case, seems to have the fact that voters register, BVAS and Form EC8A are the only basis for the declaration of election results. This appears to be game-changing, and may also be applicable to the presidential election petitions
After a lengthy legal battle, the Supreme Court on Tuesday (today) upheld Ademola Adeleke’s victory in the Osun State governorship election, dismissing all disputes against him by Adegboyega Oyetola.
Recall that the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal had earlier sacked Adeleke as governor of the state on the grounds of over-voting in 744 polling units in January 2023 and declared Oyetola as the winner of the July 16, 2022 election.
However, the Court of Appeal overturned the tribunal verdict in March 2023, citing evidence from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine and voter register.
Adeleke’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN, argued that Oyetola used incorrect polling unit results uploaded on the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) back-end server at the Tribunal.
Oyetola’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, countered that the Tribunal’s judgment followed scrutiny of evidence made available by INEC. But a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal held that the tribunal was wrong to conclude over-voting using oral witnesses without considering information on the BVAS machine and voters register.
Affirming the appeal court verdict, the Supreme Court ruled that Adeleke legally won the Osun State election, giving a reason for reaching such a decision.
In its judgment on Tuesday, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro held that the BVAS was the sole foundation and focal point of Adeleke’s case.
The court maintained that Oyetola’s argument that the presiding officers who conducted the elections in 774 polling units did not use the BVAS machine, could not substantiate it.
The court noted that, based on INEC regulations and guidelines, an election result can only be collated if the results agree with the figures in the BVAS and the ones transmitted to the INEC Results Viewing Portal, IRev.
“It is glaring that the appellant did not produce any BVAS machine report as evidence to buttress his claim.
“It is not in dispute that the BVAS accredits voters, it is therefore the only direct and primary record of voters on election day,” the apex court held.