Court dismisses Omisore’s appeal

The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the August 9 election in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

Omisore approached the Appeal Court to challenge the ruling of the Osun State Elections Petition Tribunal delivered on February 6, which upheld the victory of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Justice Gana Mcshella, who delivered judgment on behalf of four other judges, declared that Omisore’s appeal lacked merit.

The court also upheld the cross appeal by Governor Aregbesola that Omisore’s petition ought to have been dismissed as an abandoned petition by the tribunal.

Justice Mcshella dismissed Omisore’s appeal for incompetence, stressing that the grounds for appeal did not arise from the tribunal’s judgment.

In determining the appeal, the court adopted the seven issues formulated by the appellants, Omisore and the PDP.

At the hearing, lead counsel to Senator Omisore, Alex Iziyon (SAN) argued that the tribunal erred, as it failed to examine all the allegations and issues raised by the petitioner.

He argued that the tribunal failed to address the allegations of corruption and non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election producing Governor Aregbesola.  The counsel urged the Appeal Court to discountenance the judgment of the tribunal.

But counsel to Aregbesola and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Akin Olujimi (SAN) and Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) objected to the grounds of the appeal, arguing that the tribunal was clear and unbiased in its ruling.

Olujimi said the ruling of the tribunal upholding the governor’s victory was unchallengeable as it was decided after a thorough investigation.

Before considering the main appeal, the court upheld the preliminary objections by Aregbesola and APC’s counsel challenging ground 13 of the Notice of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal in holding that the ground of appeal is incompetent, held that it did not arise from the judgment of the tribunal.

It also held that the decision of the tribunal was that Aregbesola’s counsel did not make any admission, therefore, having failed to appeal this specific decision of the tribunal, the court held that ground 13 was incompetent and consequently struck it out together with issue 5 formulated from the ground.

On the remaining issues for determination, the court resolved all issues against Omisore and PDP.

On issue 1, the court held that the tribunal did not depart from the procedure on standard of proof for civil and criminal allegations and that the tribunal, having evaluated the evidence called by the appellants, applied the required standard of proof in respect of allegations of non- compliance on one hand and corruption on the other hand.

In resolving issue 2 against the appellants, the court upheld the decision of the tribunal that the appellants had not established their case to “any degree or magnitude”.

On the complaint in issue 3 by the appellants that the judgment was against the weight of evidence, it held that the complaint was of no moment. According to the court, the judgment of the tribunal was supported by both oral and documentary evidence on record.

Issue 4 considered by the Court of Appeal relates to the complaint of the appellants that the tribunal did not properly evaluate the evidence of PW 15 and PW 38, who were called as experts by the Appellants.

The court also resolved this issue against the appellant as it upheld the decision of the tribunal that by the nature of evidence given by PW15 and PW38, their evidence could not be said to be expert evidence.

Issue 5 had earlier been struck out because ground 13 upon which it was predicated had been struck out for being incompetent.

The court also resolved issue 6 against the appellants when it held that the replies filed by the appellants to the respondent’s reply at the tribunal were filed out of time.

The final issue formulated by the appellant was issue 7 and this was also resolved against the appellants as the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the tribunal that the appellants failed to prove allegations of corruption and non-compliance.

The court also upheld the cross appeal filed by Aregbesola when it dismissed PDP’s and Omisore’s petition as having been abandoned for failure to comply with the requirement of filing pre-hearing notice within the stipulated time under paragraph 18 of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.

The Court held that the tribunal was wrong to have saved the petition relying on paragraph 53(1) of the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act because Paragraph 53(1) only applies where the 1st Schedule to the Electoral Act did not provide for the consequences of non-compliance with the rules.

APC: Omisore’s defeat irreversible

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State has said yesterday’s Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore, has confirmed that the people did not want him.

In a statement by its Directorate of Publicity and Research, the APC contended that “for as long as Omisore persisted in cohesive politics and would not desist from objectionable disregard for truth, he will be unelectable”.

“Also, for as long as the PDP remains under his leadership, that party will never again be voted to power in Osun.

“The truth of the matter is that Omisore has a crisis and no reasonable community or state will risk its future on such a personality.”

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