Saturday, 23 March 2019

Osun Guber: PDP, HURIWA Commend Outcome As Jubilations Follows Tribunal’s Verdict

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a Pro-Democracy Group, specifically Human right writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has commended the verdict of the Osun state Governorship Tribunal which upheld victory of Senator Adeleke describing it as a victory for Democracy and the will of the people

In a separate statement, the People's Democratic Party’s National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbodiyan, said the judgment is a clear indicator that those who set out to destroy “our democracy can never triumph and that no matter how evil and injustice appear to thrive, the truth must always prevail at the end of the day.”

The party noted that “Nigerians have accepted democracy as a way of life and a form of government that suits the multi-plurality of our nation.” According to the PDP, “The spontaneous jubilation that greeted this judgment is, therefore, a direct indication that it is inconsonant with the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians across the board.
“For those who have been desperate to destroy our democracy, this judgment has proven to them that their shenanigans will always come to no avail.”The PDP commended the judiciary for standing upright in the defence of democracy and for ensuring that “those involved in the rapacious desecration of our democratic norms will never succeed.”
“This verdict, which reverberates across our nation, points to the fact that the truth will always prevail and that our party, the PDP, will recover all our stolen mandates in the 2019 general elections, particularly the Presidential mandate, which Nigerians freely gave to our candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Furthermore, all our candidates who have already won their elections, but whose victories are being manipulated by anti-democratic forces, must take solace in the words of the Osun election petition panel that, once valid votes have been declared and a winner emerges by the majority of votes, a rerun is illegal.
On the part of the Human right writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), it believes the tribunal has restored faith in the judiciary as the hope of the common man by returning the candidate of the opposition political party, the People's Democratic Party  as the winner of the September 27th poll
 in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko stated that the current administration has carried out systematic attacks against the judiciary using all sorts of backhand tactics and illegally deploying the Department of State Services (DSS); and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and lately the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) presided over by the allegedly compromised Chairman.
It added that the chairman, who illegally granted an ex parte order that unconstitutionally unseated the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Walter Onnoghen all in attempts to cow the judges and get them to always give choreographed verdicts in favour of the party in power at the centre, adding that the judgment by the election tribunal is reassuringly bold and is in compliance with rule of law.
HURIWA noted that the verdict was not just for the opposition political party but was a celebration of the virtues of transparency, accountability and courage just as the group expressed optimism that the judgment will in a very significant way redress the massive injustice meted out to the electorate in Osun state by the corrupt Independent National Electoral Commission just as the Rights group demanded that the INEC collation officials who thwarted the will of the people be prosecuted for treason.
HURIWA recalled that the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal had earlier declared Ademola Adeleke of the PDP as the winner of the controversial state election just as the tribunal also declared the September 27 rerun election in the state illegal.
HURIWA recalled that the three-man panel of the Tribunal gave the judgment on Friday following the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ademola Adeleke against the All Progressives Congress, APC and its candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.
Besides, HURIWA recalled that the Tribunal also ruled that PDP and Adeleke proved that it was the state Returning Officer, who cancelled the results in 7 Polling Units, adding that the petitioners also proved that the Returning Officer has no power to cancel election results of a polling unit.
The Tribunal also deducted 2,029 votes from APC scores and 1,246 votes from PDP votes in 17 polling units where there was noncompliance. HURIWA recalled that delivering the judgment, the panel had a split decision. While two members (majority judgment) ruled in favour of PDP and Ademola, the chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo (minority judgment), ruled in favour of APC and Oyetola.
HURIWA recalled that section 285 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution stated thus: “There shall be established for the Federation one or more election tribunals to be known as the National Assembly Election Tribunals which shall, to the exclusion of any or tribunal, have original jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions as to whether –  (a) any person has been validly elected as a member of the National Assembly; (b) the term of office of any person under this Constitution has ceased; (c) the seat of a member of the Senate or a member of the House of Representatives has vacant, and (d) a question or petition brought before the election tribunal has been properly or improperly brought.”
Meanwhile, there was wild jubilation, yesterday, in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, and Ede, the country home of Senator Ademola Adeleke, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, who was declared the winner of the September 22, 2018 governorship election in the state by the Election Petition Tribunal. Elated residents converged on Adeleke's residence, dancing and singing praises to God for the turn of events.
In Osogbo, PDP members moved in a convoy, celebrating the party’s victory, as the state chapter of the party expressed delight at the victory of its candidate in the election.
The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has nullified the election of Mr Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor of the state and declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, as governor.
The Justice Ibrahim Sirajo-led panel ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to Oyetola as the winner of the September 2018 governorship election. It, therefore, declared Adeleke winner of the governorship election and as the duly elected governor and ordered INEC to immediately issue him with Certificate of Return.
In the majority judgment delivered by Justice Peter Obiora, the tribunal set aside the rerun election conducted on September 27, last year for being unlawful, saying the poll conducted in the seven polling units is unknown to the law because INEC has no power to conduct it.
The tribunal agreed that PDP and Adeleke have established beyond reasonable doubt that INEC did not comply substantially with the Electoral Act in 17 polling units and consequently, over 2,000 votes credited to APC and Oyetola were deducted from the total votes credited to them by INEC, while over 1,000 votes said to have been scored by the PDP and its candidate were also removed from their total votes.
The majority judgment held that the returning officer, who cancelled the result in the affected units after the announcement, had no power to have done so. Earlier in a ruling on an objection filed against the petition by the APC, Oyetola and INEC, the tribunal held that the objection was misconceived and that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
The tribunal consequently dismissed the objection. The minority judgment delivered by Justice Sirajo, Chairman of the tribunal, however, held that the petitioners- PDP and Adeleke- failed to prove how the non-compliance of non-recording in the columns of accredited votes and account of ballots in the result sheets substantially affected the final results.
Justice Sirajo further stated that even when non-substantial compliance affects the outcome of the election, the tribunal, by virtue of Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act, does not have the power to subtract the votes affected by the non-compliance from the scores of the candidates and announce a winner.
According to him, the tribunal only has the power to nullify the results of the polling units affected by the non-compliance and order a supplementary poll. He concluded that even if the non-compliance was substantial, the petitioners did not prove it.

normal. If they decide to appeal the case, we are ready. We are testing the Nigerian judiciary and we are testing the Nigerian democracy.

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