The Supreme Court of Nigeria has affirmed Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Governor of Osun State.
A five-member panel of Justices of the apex court in a verdict delivered on Tuesday affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had voided the judgement of the Election Tribunal, nullifying Adeleke’s election victory.
The lead judgement, delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, dismissed the appeal by former governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola, who was the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
It held that though Oyetola alleged that Adeleke won through over-voting that occurred in 774 polling units in the state, he, however, failed to produce any Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, a machine that was used in any of the polling units to prove his allegation.
“It is glaring that the Appellant did not provide in evidence, any BVAS, but sought to prove over-voting by means of a report of examination of INEC’s database or backend server”.
The apex court held that since it was not in dispute that the BVAS contain a record of accredited voters, “it is, therefore, the only direct and primary record of voters accredited at polling units on election day”.
According to tghe court, there is nothing in either Section 47 of the Electoral Act 2022 or Regulations 18- 23 of the INEC’s Regulations that made it mandatory for Presiding Officers in an election to transmit by BVAS, the number of accredited voters in each polling unit to the backend server.
It dismissed evidence of purported expert witnesses that testified in Oyeyola’s favour.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared that Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party polled 403,371 votes, to defeat then-incumbent governor Adegboyega Oyetola, of the All Progressives Congress, who got 375,027 votes.
But the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had on January 27, in a split decision, voided the declaration of Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the gubernatorial election.