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Oyetola Vs Adeleke: How S’Court Saved Tinubu’s Victory From Legal Threats

Oyetola Vs Adeleke: How S’Court Saved Tinubu’s Victory From Legal Threats
  • PublishedMay 13, 2023

LAWYERS have described the judgement of the Supreme Court that affirmed Sen. Ademola Adeleke as the Governor of the State of Osun, as a new precedence in the adjudication of electoral disputes in Nigeria. 

Ismaeel Uthman

According to the lawyers, the Supreme Court has established the importance of BVAS and Voters Register as the primary source of information as regards voting and election results. 

A doctor of law at the University of Ibadan, Dr Olusegun Onakoya, described the verdict as a ‘principally substantive justice’. 

Onakoya said the apex court has also saved the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, from legal threats which might upturn his electoral victory at the February 25, 2023 presidential election. 

Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER in a telephone interview yesterday, Onakoya said: “For the judgement to have gone that way, that means the principle that underlines the Electoral Act was considered critically. What the Supreme Court did was principally substantive justice.

“For the Supreme Court to have toed that line, without sounding prejudicial, we’re not too far from saying the mind of the court with regards to compliance with Electoral Act when it comes to the issue of election results being transmitted to the server. And that might also play out in the presidential election tribunal.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Affirms Adeleke As Osun Governor

“However, the Supreme Court has saved what might be a threat to the electoral victory and inauguration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Some of the issues being canvassed against his victory at the election petition tribunal are the issues that were also canvassed against Adeleke at election petition tribunal, which the Supreme court has dismissed. 


“If the Supreme Court had ruled otherwise, it would have been a serious threat to the electoral victory of the president-elect.

“The Supreme court has set a new precedence for us in the adjudication of electoral dispute. 

“Interestingly, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has warned parties in the case to avoid delay tactics and technicalities. That means the court is out for real business and will not entertain technicality. 

Commenting on the judgment, the Secretary of the Legal Committee of the PDP in the State of Osun, Barr. Hashim Abioye, said the Supreme Court has strengthened the jurisprudence with its verdict on the July 16, 2022 governorship election dispute. 

According to Abioye, the apex court has asserted that the content of the BVAS machine will take priority over all other materials when there is any conflict on election results and accreditation of voters. 

Abioye said: “The Supreme Court reviewed the entire petition filed by the petitioners and it found out that their petitions were based on a third hand report, that was the language used by the court. That third hand report was the server result of Independent Electoral Commissioner (INEC). So, their complaint was about the transmission of the results, what was transferred into the server, not the content of the BVAS itself. 

“The apex court said to prove any infraction, especially as it relates to over-voting at any polling unit, you need the voters register and the BVAS machine itself. If you can’t get the BVAS machine, the certified content of the machine is what you need to prove over-voting. That the voters register or the content of the BVAS machine is what will determine over-voting at any polling unit. 

“In case there is any conflict between the BVAS machine and the voter register, the content of the BVAS machine will sail through and that is true in the cause that it was the BVAS machine that was used for accreditation, and after the accreditation the voters register will be picked. 

“There could be technological or human factor hindering the functioning of the BVAS machine as regard transmission or transferring of results. As a result of that, if you want to prove over-voting, you don’t rely on a third hand report.”

Commenting on the statement of the apex court that says ‘the entire proceeding of the tribunal is a nullity’, Abioye said: “The law is that any application filed before any court, especially when it touches the jurisdiction of the court, the application must be heard and determined. 

“That the preliminary objection filed before the governorship election petition tribunal was heard but the tribunal did not deliver ruling as required. So, as a result of that, the entire procedure is in nullity.

“I think the supreme court would have stopped at that but for the purpose of our jurisprudence and for the fact that the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 are new, the Supreme Court utilised the opportunity to set a precedence and to make some vital pronouncement which will be relevant and continue to be. 

“The supreme court has strengthened our jurisprudence. Not so much has changed even with the introduction of BVAS machine, the only addition now is that the content of BVAS machine will take priority over all other materials when there is any conflict as regards what transpired concerning accreditation of voters.”

On the similarity between the petitions against Adeleke and Tinubu, Abioye said: “The case filed against Adeleke was based on a server report, the petition against Tinubu is about improper transmission of result, not based on any report from server. The similarity is that any petition that is founded on extraneous materials, aside from the critical materials will fail. 

If a petition is founded on any extraneous material outside the critical materials at the polling unit, it will fail, notwithstanding the technological innovation in our electoral system. That is a precedence set by the Supreme on Oyetola versus Adeleke matter.  

“If the petition against the President-elect is based on failure to transmit result, improper transmission of report or IREV issue, the Supreme Court has settled that. Transmission of result is different from collation of result. Anything can happen during the transmission of result. The most important thing is the materials at the polling units. 


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