It was jubilation, celebration and exchange of hugs among APC members in Osun State when the news spread that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has taken decision to nullify the March 22nd ruling of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that declared the PDP guber candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, winner of the September 2018 governorship poll.
The five-man panel led by Justice Jummai Sankey gave positive nod to the appeal filed by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola challenging the ruling made by the tribunal and consequently affirmed him the duly elected governor. The court resolved 10 out of the 12 prayers in favour of the APC candidate and the remaining two in support of Adeleke. We gathered that the Court of Appeal’s majority judgment was based on the alleged absence of a member of the tribunal, Justice Peter Obiorah, during the February 6, 2018 proceedings of the tribunal who later surfaced to read the lead judgment.
Justice Sankey stated that the absence of Justice Obiorah on the said date nullified the entire proceedings and the verdict of the tribunal. Justices Abubakar Yahaya, Isaiah Akeju and Bitrus Sanga concurred with the position maintained by Justice Sankey while Justice George Mbaba disagreed with the majority judgment, and rather submitted that the alleged absence of Justice Obiorah from the February 6, 2018 proceedings of the tribunal was mere speculation.