The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which on March 24 affirmed Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of the July 16, 2022 governorship election in Osun State.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, dismissed the appeal filed by former governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress to challenge the appellate court judgment affirming Adeleke as the winner of the poll.
The apex court, which said it found no reason to set aside the verdict of the Court of Appeal in Adeleke’s favour, also awarded N500,000 damages against Oyetola and the PDP.
The apex court held that though Oyetola alleged that Adeleke won through over-voting in 774 polling units in the state, the ex-governor failed to adduce any substantial evidence to support his claim.
“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 court said.
Following the judgment on Tuesday, many towns in Osun State went agog in jubilation.
Before news filtered in that Adeleke had won in Abuja, there was lull in business activities in Osogbo, the state capital.
There was also an unusually large presence of armed security operatives at strategic positions in the state capital, as people waited for the apex court to deliver its judgement on the matter.
However, immediately the news of Adeleke’s victory spread, many residents, in especially Osogbo, Ede, Iwo and Ilesa, stormed the streets to celebrate the development.
Jubilant party members were seen celebrating the victory at Olaiya Junction, Aregbesola Area, Oja Oba and Alekuwodo in Osogbo, while residents also thronged the streets in Oja Timi, Ojoro and Oke Gada, Ede in celebration.
In Iwo, party members stormed the streets shortly after recieving the news of Adeleke’s victory with drum to celebrate the development.
The Osun State PDP Chairman, Sunday Bisi, led the victory parade which took off at Ilesa West PDP Secretariat, Isokun and moved to the Ilesa East party secretariat at Ita Balogun before moving through Roadabout Area and Okesa area in Ilesa.
At Adeleke’s Ede Country home, PDP supporters and members of the immediate family of the governor, were joined by the residents to celebrate the victory amidst drumming and dancing.
Speaking with journalists, Adeleke, who was flanked by his elder sister, Mrs Dupe Adeleke-Sanni, and his wives, Titilola and Ngozi, dedicated the victory to God and thanked the judiciary, for affirming the people’s choice, adding that the decision of the court would consolidate and strengthen the country’s democracy.
The governor said, “To the judiciary, Osun has emerged as a moral compass, affirming the integrity of My Lord Justices. Your affirmation for truth and people’s will consolidates and strengthens our democracy. On behalf of Osun people, we appreciate you and we adore your love for justice and equity.
“To all stakeholders in the Osun project, be assured that the revalidation of our mandate is a challenge, a call to duty, a fresh demand for more dividends of democracy. I commit myself to an even more expanded delivery of good governance; in me, you will find a truly pro-people governor. I seek support and cooperation of all Osun residents and citizens irrespective of party affiliations. This is our state and we must join hands to develop it.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the judgment, the Osun State chapter of the APC congratulated Adeleke and urged its members not to be downcast “as the nature of politics is that one doesn’t win all the times.”
In a statement signed by its acting chairman, Tajudeen Lawal, the APC said, “While we are congratulating the beneficiary of the judgement, we make bold to state that we shall not be found wanton in playing our expected opposition roles in order to keep the government on its toes.”
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who is the APC leader, also congratulated Adeleke and called for inclusion and harmony in Osun.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari urged Osun people to support Adeleke’s administration to ensure that “programmes, policies, plans and aspirations fashioned to make individuals and businesses flourish succeed.”
He said, “Elections should be seen as the path to an end, which is the progress of the people in a peaceful environment, rather than unending bickering.
“This is the time for inclusion and harmony in the state at the end of litigation.”
Similarly, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, who can be described as Oyetola’s political mentor, also congratulated Adeleke.
In a statement by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, Tinubu added that, “The apex court in the land has spoken and all of us must obey its verdict. It is the right thing to do for democracy and rule of law to continue to thrive in the land.
“I must also commend the immediate-past governor of the state, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, for exercising his democratic rights as the constitution allows him to do.
Governor Oyetola discharged himself creditably in office. He lost the office but did not lose his integrity and reputation as the governor who brought efficiency, transparency and accountability to the business of governance.”
He advised Adeleke to “immediately settle down to work and continue from where the former governor left it.”