The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo has nullified the election that brought the lawmaker representing the Ife Central State Constituency into the Osun State House of Assembly. Consequently, the tribunal ordered the electoral commission to conduct fresh elections in some 26 polling units of the Ife Central State Constituency of the State.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by the 3-man panel led by Honourable Justice V. O. Eboreime on Saturday the 30th day of September, 2023, the court ruled that the petitioners were able to prove that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not substantially comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022 and the Manual for Election Officials in declaring the 2nd Respondent, Awoyeye Abiola Jeremiah, as the winner of the election which held on the 18th day of March, 2023 and that as a result, the 2nd Respondent was not validly elected.
It would be recalled that after the March 18, 2023 elections into the Osun State House of Assembly, the All Progressives’ Congress and its candidate for the Ife Central State Constituency, Adejobi Adeyinka Johnson, dragged the Respondents before the election tribunal and asked the court to nullify the declaration and return made by INEC for the Ife Central State Constituency.
In a copy of the petition filed before the tribunal by their team of lawyers consisting of Abdurahman Okunade, Olamilekan Allen Bada, Ayoola Peter Olajolo and Lekan M. Bello, the petitioners prayed the tribunal to nullify the election result on the ground that the electoral body failed to apply the principle of Margin of Lead before declaring the winner of the election.
After the judgment was pronounced, the Respondents’ lawyers, namely Vilba Kintai for INEC, Naim Adekilekun for the sacked lawmaker and Nurudeen Kareem who stood in for B. R. Gold as counsel for the Peoples’ Democratic Party, informed the tribunal that they would appeal the judgment.