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Much Ado About Osun Tribunal Verdict

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Osun State indigenes were glued to their radio, television and phones last Friday 22nd of March, 2019 to have first hand information on the verdict of the Osun governorship election tribunal.

Going by experience from previous judgements as delivered by tribunals, the expectation of Osun people was that latest by 2:00pm, the verdict must have been delivered since there was no live coverage by radio or television stations.

Therefore, there was palpable tension when the judgement was not yet at the domain of people by 3:00pm which gave rise to diverse news stories on the social media.

However, when reputable television and radio stations broke the news that the election of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, the All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate had been nullified and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke declared the winner of September 22 governorship and 27 rerun governorship elections, there were mixed reactions.

While PDP supporters embraced the verdict with jubilation, APC supporters who obviously are not happy consoled themselves with hope for favourable verdicts at Appeal court

In Osogbo, the state capital, the mood was that of indifference until later in the day when probably through mobilisation, people trooped out in jubilation of the judgement.

But at Ede, the home town of the PDP candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, it was wild jubilation as people trooped out massively to express their joy at the judgement that favours their kinsman.

At the centre of the town, motorcyclists demonstrated their dexterity and expertise which almost led to casualties.

In his spontaneous reaction to the judgement, All Progressives Congress in  Osun through its spokesman, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi said the verdict is unacceptable to his party.

Oyatomi who is the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, of APC in the state in a statement said: “APC of Osun has rejected  the Election Petition Tribunal verdict that declared Adeleke the winner of the 2018 governorship election in the state.

“The verdict cannot stand superior legal scrutiny. Therefore we will appeal against it’.

Similarly, the Secretary to the government of Osun,  Mr Wole Oyebamiji in another statement assured Osun people that justice will prevail.

His words: Government wishes to appreciate the teeming support of the majority of the people in all things essential for mutual progress. As it is, the administration of His Excellency, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, Governor, State of Osun wishes to assure the people that the judgment of the Election Tribunal has been put on appeal.

“This is to further assure all the residents of the State of adequate security of lives and properties, as the Government of the State is still the only legitimate Government having the authority to govern the State.

“We assure all our people that justice will prevail at last, and the law enforcement agencies have been instructed to maintain law and order across the State.

“We therefore urge all the residents of the State to go about their lawful duties without any hindrance.”

However, Osun State Chapter of the PDP expressed delight at the victory of Adeleke and congratulated the people of the state for having their mandate restored.

The party’s Chairman, Soji Adagunodo in a chat with LEADERSHIP in Osogbo, the state capital, said the victory was an act of God.

Adagunodo enthused that he knew from the outset of the party’s struggle for the mandate that God Almighty would do justice and had done it.

He dedicated the victory to God Almighty and the people of the state.

“I thank God Almighty for the victory and we dedicate it to Him. It is a victory for the people of the state. It is a victory for all,” Adagunodo said.

“ I commend the good people of Osun for their faith in the PDP and senator Adeleke.”

He also commended the Nigerian judiciary, saying that they did a good job by standing on the truth.

The PDP chairman also expressed confidence in the judiciary, saying: “The judgement shows that the people in the judiciary are calibres of people of impeccable character.”

“They are the last hope of the common man and have proved themselves as such. I give kudos to the judiciary.

Adagunodo, however, said that the party was ready for appeal if the APC decided to appeal the case.

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

Speaking, Senator Adeleke’s immediate senior sister Mrs Dupe Adeleke Saani who gave Glory to God for the judgement said the soul late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke will be lifted in grave with the outcome of the judgement.

While appreciating Osun people for their patience, she particularly thank the people of Ede for standing by the Adeleke family.

Meanwhile, to dose tension and state his position on the judgement on Saturday morning, Governor Gboyega Oyetola in a broadcast to the people of the state, retreated his confidence in the judiciary.

His words: “I address you this day to inform you that, in response to the judgment of the Osun Governorship Election Tribunal, sitting at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Friday, the 22nd day of March, 2019, we have gone on appeal to challenge the split decision of the Tribunal.

“This split decision notwithstanding, our confidence in the judiciary remains unshaken, which is why we are going back to it for necessary review through the Appellate Court.

“In accordance with the dictates of law, our government remains intact pending the decision of the higher courts. The status quo remains, and the business of governance continues under my watch.

“I have directed all law enforcement agencies as a matter of duty to continue to maintain law and order across the State. 

“I would, therefore, appeal to you all to remain calm and go about your legitimate businesses, while we explore the instruments of the law to reaffirm the mandate that you freely gave to us.

Osun has since remained calm with people going about their businesses expecting the next step of the parties concerned.

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