The Supreme Court on Wednesday, December 18, has dismissed the appeal filed by Adebayo Adelabu, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, against the victory of Seyi Makinde, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as winner of the March 9, 2019 election in Oyo State.
In a unanimous judgment, the Apex Court found merit in the appeal filed by Mr Makinde that the majority judgment of the Appeal Court was a miscarriage of justice.
The court, therefore, affirmed the majority judgment of the trial tribunal which upheld the election of Makinde as the duly elected governor of Oyo State.
The judgment applies to the remaining three appeals emanating from the election.
Newsflash247 had earlier reported that confusion trailed the Court of Appeal judgment on Monday, November 11, as both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress claimed victory after the justices ruled that the appeal by the candidate of APC, Mr. Bayo Adelabu “subsists.”
In arriving at its decision, the court allowed the appeal filed by Adelabu, against the sitting governor, Seyi Makinde, of the PDP.
The court of appellate jurisdiction also set aside the judgment delivered by the election petition tribunal that upheld the election of Makinde as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The court also ordered that status quo before the tribunal’s judgment should remain, which is the return and declaration of Makinde as the winner of the March 9, 2019 governorship poll in Oyo State.
The court held that if not for time, it would have ordered a re-trial at the tribunal, noting that unfortunately, the time limit of 180days for tribunal had been exhausted.
The court found that the judgement of the lower tribunal that dismissed Adelabu’s petition against Makinde’s election as the governor was perverse and therefore set the judgement aside.
But the Court of Appeal did not make any further order concerning the election of Makinde and did order a rehearing of the election petition, but stressed that the status quo as of the time of filing the petition by Adelabu be maintained.
Three of the four-person panel of the Court of Appeal resolved all issues in the favour of the appellants. But there was a dissenting judgment from a judge with a proviso that the panel could not nullify Makinde’s election.
The lead counsel to Makinde, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), told journalists after the delivery of the judgment that the declaration of Makinde as governor “has not been affected in any way. The Court of Appeal in their wisdom said they did not agree with the lower tribunal. They did not also say that they did not agree with INEC. So, INEC’s declaration is sacrosanct and it remains until any other pronouncement from the court.
“We have not seen the details of the judgment. We were all in court and you (journalists) saw that the details were not read to us. As far as we are concerned, there is no cause for alarm.”
Fielding questions from reporters on the implications of the judgment on Governor Makinde, Jegede said, “There is no implication on the return and declaration of Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo State.”
The counsel to Adelabu and APC, Adeboye Shobanjo, also told journalists: “You listened to what my lord said about the evaluation of judgment of evidence that when there are pieces of evidence before the court, the evidence of all parties before the court should be evaluated. Judgment should not be based only on the evidence of a party in a case and if that was done during the trial or during the judgment, that is contrary to the provision of the constitution on fair hearing.
“Second, this court settled the issue of dumping of documents on election cases, and contrary to the decision of the tribunal that all the documents tendered by the appellants were dumped on the tribunal. The judgment made it known that the documents were not dumped on the tribunal.
“In totality, the appeal was allowed. But my lord said that because of effusion of time, that since the time for trial has lapsed at the tribunal, they cannot order for retrial of the case.
“But generally or totally, the appeal was allowed. It showed that the judgment of the tribunal occasioned a miscarriage of justice against the appellants.”