Nullification of LG polls: Osun APC heads to appeal court

Following today’s nullification of the local government council elections conducted by the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSSIEC) by the Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has enjoined the political functionaries in the local governments and all the members of the party not to lose sleep over the temporary setback as the ruling party has concluded an arrangement to appeal the judgement.

It would be recalled that His Lordship, Hon Justice Ayo-Nathaniel Emmanuel in his judgement declared the local government council elections that were conducted by the OSSIEC on October 15, 2022 as illegal, null and void, having not conducted in consonance with the Electoral Act of 2022.

The court ordered the local government chairmen and councillors of the said elections to vacate local government secretariats and offices with immediate effect.

According to the State Deputy Chairman of the APC, Sooko Taju Lawal, in a statement issued by Kola Olabisi, the Media Adviser to the state chapter of the APC in Osogbo, the Osun State capital today, the development was just a temporary setback which would be redressed in an appellate court.

Lawal told the council political functionaries and all the members of the party to continue to embrace peace and shun any manner of provocation that may emanate from the Federal High Court judgement.

He reminded them that under no circumstance must they lose their composure and placidity as addent believers in the rules of law.

Taju stated that the hallmark of any progressive politician is always the willingness to act in tandem with the rules of law.

In the State Deputy Chairman’s words: “Our party is taking all necessary legal steps to ensure that the judgement that nullified the local government council elections would not stand.

“We need your continued co-operation to weather the storm with an assurance that there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel”, Lawal stated.

In another development, the state chapter of the APC also assured the party members and stakeholders that the ongoing litigation at the tribunal over the last governorship election in the state was on course.

Lawal who enjoined the APC stakeholders to continue with their ceaseless prayers in order to reclaim the stolen mandate of Governor Gboyega Oyetola by the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate disclosed that there’s nothing that prayers cannot do.

The State Deputy Chairman of the APC stated that the State Election Petition Tribunal has issued a fresh order, directing the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce the Certificates and other documents of the state Governor-elect, Ademola Adeleke used in the 2018 governorship election.

The order followed the failure of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the commission to produce the certificates in the previous sitting in compliance with the Subpoena issued on the commission.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola is challenging the declaration of Adeleke as Governor-elect by the INEC.

At its resumed sitting on Friday, the tribunal, Chaired by Justice Tertsea Kume ruled that the mere appearance of the representative of REC has not answered the Subpoena on the commission to produce the documents.

In the ruling, the tribunal said an application for Subpoena is in Administrative Act and when it is granted, it becomes Judicial Act and the party upon which the Subpoena is issued must comply, citing Section 218 and 219 of the evidence act.

It ruled: “An order of the court is bound to be complied with by the party upon which it was made until it is set aside by the court. In the instant case the order has not been complied with.”

The tribunal further held that the request by the respondents that the petitioners should continue with the calling of the witness whose testimony is hanged on the Adeleke’s credentials was baseless, as the petitioners has the absolute prerogative on how to conduct their case.

The panel said the application was consequent to the failures of the state REC of the commission to produce the documents requested in the Subpoena.

According to the ruling, the Petitioners’ have shown sufficient reasons for the tribunal to compel the the National Chairman of INEC to produce the documents in question.

It then dismissed all the objections raised by the counsel for INEC, Adeleke and PDP and compelled the National Chairman of the commission to produce the documents in the next sitting of the panel on Thursday, December 1.

Counsel for the Petitioners, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, described the ruling as a well researched one, saying it would go a long way in serving the course of justice in the hearing of the petition.

Addressing journalists shortly after the proceedings, Chief Olujinmi, said the court has done the right thing for reordering INEC to produce the requested documents containing Adeleke’s certificates.

He added: “The respondents, as we said during the last sitting, didn’t want to produce that document and that was why we had to argue at length to persuade the tribunal to reorder, which they eventually made today.

“The effect of this is that the INEC is now under a binding obligation to produce these documents at the next appearance in court on Thursday December 1st, 2022,” he added.

Counsel for INEC, Professor Paul Ananaba, SAN also conceded that they were ready now to follow the order of the court by producing the requested documents.

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