In a split decision on Friday afternoon, the three-man panel of the Osun Governorship Election Tribunal chaired by Justice Tertsea Kume overturned the outcome of the July 16, 2022 governorship election in the state, declaring Mr. Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola winner.
Party members on both sides of the divides have taken to the street in either high spirits or sobriety.
In view of the court directive asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return it issued to Mr. Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke on July 20, 2022, and give another one to Oyetola, questions are being raised on whether the incumbent governor will vacate office immediately and pave way for the victorious party.
Constitutionally, election tribunal is a post-election court set up to review election petitions brought before it by direct parties to an election, and it is a court of coordinate jurisdiction possessing the same power as a state high court or federal high court.
What the above implies is that an appeal from a tribunal goes directly to the court of appeal of competent jurisdiction. A tribunal must be created within 30 days after an election to sit on post-election matters and deliver its judgement within 180 days.
WILL ADELEKE GO HOME TODAY?
Speaking to FIJ, Mr. Festus Ogun, a Lagos-based lawyer, said “notwithstanding the decision of the tribunal, Section 138 of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that Adeleke shall remain in office for the period of 21 days within which he is entitled to file a notice of appeal against the judgement of the tribunal, and shall be accorded all the rights and privileges of the office.”
Section 138 (1) – Where the election is nullified by the Court and notice of appeal against the decision is given within the stipulated period for appeal, the elected candidate shall, notwithstanding the contrary decision of the Court, remain in office and enjoy all the benefits that accrued to the office pending the determination of the appeal and shall not be sanctioned for the benefits derived while in office.
“Failure to appeal”, according to the legal practitioner, “he is mandated to leave office after 21 days.”
The law is, therefore, clear on the duration within which such party may file their appeal, and allows parties to maintain status quo pending the filing of an appeal by an aggrieved party within such permitted period.
FIJ had reported that the court declared Oyetola winner of the election, after which Adeleke appealed to his supporters in a press statement to remain calm, revealing his intention to appeal the judgement.
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