The Independent National Electoral Commission has appealed against the judgement of Justice T. A. Kume led Election Petition Tribunal in Osun State on 44 grounds.
INEC filed the the petition at the Court of Appeal in Akure, through its lawyer, Paul Ananaba (Senior Advocate of Nigeria) on Wednesday.
The electoral body sought an order of the Appeal Court to set aside the whole decision of the trial Tribunal and dismiss and/or striking out the Petition for want of competence and jurisdiction.
The electoral body said the election petition tribunal erred in law by failing to consider and rule on the various preliminary objections filed by the 1st respondent challenging the competency of the petition and jurisdiction of the Election Petition Tribunal to hear the Petition but proceeded to determine the merit of the Petition.
The petitioners, former Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, and his party, All Progressive Congress faulted the declaration of candidate of People Democratic Party, Ademola Adeleke on 17th of July, 2022, by the electoral body as the winner of the July 16th governorship election in the state.
Oyetola said APC premised their petition with reference no: EPT/OS/GOV/01/2022, on Adeleke’s eligibility to contest and over-voting and the Tribunal on 27th January, 2023 declared Oyetola as the validly elected Governor of the state.
The appellant said the Tribunal totally misconstrued Section 47(2) of the Electoral Act 2022, which must be read purposefully, communally and holistically to arrive at the true intention of the legislature and justice.
“The lower Tribunal erred in law when they failed to consider and rule on the various preliminary objections filed by the 1 Respondent/Appellant challenging the competency of the petition and jurisdiction of the Election Petition Tribunal to hear the Petition but proceeded to determine the merit of the Petition.
“On the particulars of error, INEC stated that “It is trite law that preliminary objections that touch on the competency of the petition and the jurisdiction of the Tribunal is a threshold issue which must be determined before the Tribunal can assume jurisdiction to determine the merit of the Petition.
“The preliminary objections filed by the 1 Respondent Appellant were adjourned to be delivered alongside the judgment on the Petition. iii. The Honourable Tribunal ought to determine the preliminary objections of the 1st Respondent before going into the merit of the Petition. iv.Failure of the Tribunal to consider and deciding the preliminary objections of the 1st Respondent/Appellant amounts to a denial of fair hearing and occasioned a miscarriage of justice as the objections would have terminated the life of the Petition in limine.
“The judgment delivered by the lower Tribunal for the conduct of the Osun state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting at Osogbo on Friday the 27th day of January, 2023 is a nullity.
“The judgment is not a complete judgment of the said Election Petition.
Tribunal Member 2 was one of the members of the said Tribunal who heard the Petition but did not reduce her judgment or opinion in writing capable of being delivered on the day fixed for the delivery of the judgment.
“Each of the members of the Tribunal must express his/her opinion in writing.
The judgment is a breach of Section 294 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). The Judgment delivered by HON. TERTSEA AORGA KUME J., was jointly signed on the last page of the judgment by the Tribunal Member 2 RABI BASHIR (Chief Magistrate).
“Section 294 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not admit of joint judgments. The judgment of the Tribunal herein is incurably a nullity for being in breach of the said Section 294 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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