By Tunde Joshua
It was double jubilation for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in Saturday’s Osun State governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke as a Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State on Wednesday validated Adeleke’s candidature.
He was also presented with the certificate of return as duly elected governor of Osun State, having polled 403,371 votes to defeat his closest rival, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the APC who scored 375,027 votes at the Osun State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court dismissed a suit filed by Prince Dotun Babayemi, who contested the PDP governorship ticket with Ademola Adeleke.
The Court of Appeal in its judgment on Wednesday upheld the verdict of the Federal High Court, Osogbo.
Two factions of the party on March 8, 2021, conducted separate governorship primaries featuring Adeleke and Babayemi. The Trumpet Gathered
The primary election that produced Adeleke was held at Osogbo City Stadium and backed by the PDP National Working Committee while the Babayemi faction conducted a parallel congress at the Women Development Centre in Osogbo.
Babayemi had taken Adeleke before a Federal High Court in Osogbo, seeking to be declared as the PDP candidate for the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.
In a judgment delivered on May 18, Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, held that the primary election conducted at the WOCDIF Centre, Osogbo, on March 8, which produced Babayemi is null and void.
Adeleke’s name featured prominently In a list of candidates later released by INEC, recognised Adeleke as the duly-elected standard bearer of the PDP in the governorship election held last Saturday.
Dissatisfied with both the ruling and INEC’s declaration of Adeleke as the party’s candidate, Babayemi approached the Court of Appeal, Akure, challenging the judgment of the lower court and seeking to be declared as the PDP governorship candidate.
While issuing Adeleke the certificate of return alongside the deputy-governor elect, in Osogbo Wednesday, National Commissioner of INEC, Prof. Kunle Ajayi commended the people of Osun on the peaceful way and manner in which they conducted themselves in the conduct of the governorship election, while expressing satisfaction that the voter turn-out was large and that there was no major electoral violence incidence recorded.
He issued the certificates in consonance with the provision of Section 72 (Subsection 1) which mandates INEC to issue a sealed Certificate of Return to the Governor-Elect and Deputy Governor-Elect within 14 days after the declaration of result by the Returning Officer.”
He said the election was perhaps the most anticipated election of the year, not just because it was the last major off-cycle election before the 2023 General Election, but was viewed by Nigerians with a note of caution.
With the successful conduct of the Osun State governorship election, he said the Commission assured Nigerians that this has become the standard of Election Management in Nigeria.
“On the part of INEC, as an electoral umpire, under the leadership of the Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, we are consistent in achieving our vision to become one of the best election management bodies in the world and acting on our core values of; independence, impartiality, neutrality and transparency.
“Furthermore, the introduction of innovative technologies and processes such as the use of; Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV), Election Risk Management (ERM) tools, Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) for Registration Area Camp (RAC’)s, Root Training for Corpers etc. has significantly geared INEC towards delivering seamless voter experiences to the electorates.
On behalf of INEC, Prof. Ajayi appreciated every stakeholder that contributed to the successful conduct of this election, from the National Peace Committee to developmental partner IFES, Traditional Rulers, the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), members of staff of INEC Osun State office under the stewardship of the Resident Electoral Commissioner Prof. Raji and supported by his Administrative Secretary MMrAlani Odutan.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expressed delight at the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed the PDP Governorship Election Primary that produced Osun State Governor-Elect, Sen. Ademola Adeleke, as the rightful candidate of the PDP for the July 16, 2022, Osun State Governorship election.
The party said the judgement which puts to rest all contestations regarding the validity of the candidacy of Adeleke, came as further validation of the will and aspiration of the people of Osun State which they overwhelmingly expressed on July 16.
National Publicity of PDP, Hon. Debo Ologunagba said “the judgment is a firm confirmation that the Osun State governorship primary was transparently conducted by the Sen. Dr. Iyorchia Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC) in strict compliance with the provisions of the PDP Constitution and Electoral Guidelines as provided by the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“Our Party commends the Judiciary for its courage adding that the judgment has further restored the confidence of Nigerians on our judicial system and the processes of the PDP.
The PDP again congratulates the people of Osun State and charges all Party stakeholders in the State to remain united behind Sen. Ademola Adeleke in his determination to institute a transparent, people-oriented and development-based government that will rebuild and revamp Osun State from the misrule of the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
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