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The verdict of the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal is going to bring about two things in less than three weeks from now.
One, Oyetola would be addressed as a “former governors” if he fails to appeal within 21 days, this can totally be ruled out as the legal team of the incumbent governor said they’d be appealing right away.
Two, if the Appeal Court upholds the ruling of the tribunal or not, the case will definitely get to the Supreme Court.
If the Appeal Court upturns the ruling of the tribunal, it’ll be a victory for Oyetola, which will prompt Adeleke to challenge it at the Supreme Court, and vice versa.
Recalled during the ruling, the tribunal submitted that Adeleke be issued certificate of return, but INEC, the electoral body has a reservation about the ruling.
There is a time limit, failure of Oyetola to appeal within the time limit will prompt INEC to issue Adeleke certificate of return.
And the APC governor has sounded it strongly to his critics that “I’m still in charge”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also made it clear that it is ready to issue certificate of return to Sen Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) if the embattled governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola fails to appeal the judgment of the tribunal within 21 days.
The three-man panel of the tribunal was divided, but 2-to-1 had their way, which also made the judgement valid.
The majority judgment of the tribunal was delivered by Justice Peter Obiora who ordered INEC to immediately issue a fresh certificate of return to Adeleke as the lawful and validly elected governor of Osun State, after declaring the September 27, 2018 re-run election as illegal.
For now, it means INEC will have to wait till the 23-day duration before the certificate of return is given to Adeleke. Though there are fake photos of INEC official issuing certificate of return to Adeleke on the social media.
What the law says
Going by Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, a candidate whose election is set aside has a period of 21days from the date of the decision of the court to appeal against such a ruling.
By that law, if Oyetola fails to appeal the judgment, INEC will have no option than to issue a certificate of return to Adeleke after the 21 days window expired.
“The commission has not issued any new certificate in relation to Osun State,” INEC National Commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr Festus Okoye told LEADERSHIP while debunking rumours that Adeleke has been issued a certificate of return.
“Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act gives a candidate whose election is set aside a period of 21days from the date of the decision to appeal against such a decision,” Okoye said while explaining why the commission can’t issue a certificate of return to Adeleke.
“The person is entitled to remain in office pending the determination of the appeal. The commission will only issue the certificate if appeal is not lodged within 21 days. The commission has not issued any new certificate in relation to Osun State,” Okoye added.
What’s the fate of Oyetola at the Appeal Court? What of if the appellate court upholds the verdict of the petition tribunal?
There is no gainsaying the fact that the case would get to the highest court in the land before both of them know their fate.