Yet again, The victory of Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, in the August 9, 2014 elections held in the state has been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 27, 2015.
The Justice John Fabiyi led 7 man panel dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governorship candidate in that election, Iyiola Omisore, and declared Aregbesola, the All Progressives Congress candidate (APC), the duly elected governor of Osun State.
Six out of the seven issues formulated by Omisore against Aregbesola were resolved by the unanimous decision of the apex Court. It was held that even though the first issue was resolved in Omisore’s favour, it was still not enough to grant his appeal.
The judgement read by Justice Chima Nweze, stated that Omisore had failed in his duty to prove the alleged irregularities he had claimed took place in 17 Local Government Areas of the state, thereby endorsing the findings of the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal and the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure.
Justice Nweze held, “In all, I find that there is no merit in the complaints regarding issues two, three, four, five, six and seven.
“Although, issue one was resolved in the appellant’s favour, it does not alter the fate of the appeal which is bound to fail. I therefore make an order dismissing the same.”
“I further affirm the concurrent findings of the trial tribunal and the lower court (Court of Appeal) on the due election and due return of the 1st respondent, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, as the Governor of Osun State,” Justice Nweze ruled.
Aregbesola’s notice of preliminary objection where he complained that the appeal was defective in that the APC was named as the All Progressives Peoples Congress had earlier been dismissed but merit was found in his objection by the court following in his cross-appeal which challenged the tribunal’s admission of a computer generated document tendered by Omisore as evidence.
Aregbesola’s lawyer had contended that the Tribunal ought to have dismissed the petition owing to the fact that it was filed outside the stipulated period in the Electoral Act, in granting his cross appeal, the Supreme Court upheld that contention.
The Supreme Court held that in Omisore’s bid to prove the alleged irregularities, he had brought in 43 witnesses who only succeeded in feeding the tribunal with hearsay evidences.
The court ruled, “In the absence of credible evidence therefore to proof the allegations of non-compliance supra, (as stated earlier) substantial non-compliance with the principles of the Electoral Act or in the alternative, substantial effects in the results and infraction of the said Electoral Act, no matter how miniscule the assertion with all its brilliant submission and the pungency this court’s decision are merely scoop or at best hypothetical.
“The lower court (the Court of Appeal) having rightly affirmed trial tribunal’s correct findings that the petitioner has failed to establish what provision of the Electoral Act and manual have been contravened by any of the respondents in the conduct of the election in any of the polling units being questioned. We shall say no more on that.
“The same applies to the lower court’s affirmation on the findings on the petitioner’s failure to prove the criminal allegation of malpractice beyond reasonable doubt.
“The net effect is that there is no merit in the appellant’s complaint in the compulsive issues just dealt with.”
Omisore’s counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), during the appeal hearing held on May 17, 2015 urged the Supreme Court to allow his appeal and dismiss Aregbesola’s cross appeal. Izinyon, who led other five SANs and an array of other junior lawyers, argued that the tribunal and the Court of Appeal identified the irregularities Omisore had alleged but did not make an attempt to properly make findings concerning them.
Also the three respondents represented by three different lawyers ( Counsel for Aregbesola, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), that of the APC, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), and that of the INEC, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN)) all asked the court, seperately, to dismiss the appeals of Omisore.