‘Manner of Appeal Court judgment delivery not unusual’
It is because the conduct of elections, announcement, and declaration of results are codified, as well as the fact that the resolution of disputes arising from elections are embodied in the Electoral Act that the recent Appeal Court ruling on Oyo State governorship received divergent interpretations.
A legal practitioner, Bayo Lawal, who made the above clarifications, contended that an election petition, which is not predicated on known grounds, is liable for dismissal without much ado.
He said Oyo indigenes needed not to worry over the judgment if only they understand those basic facts, especially given that the essential ingredient of the matter, concerning conduct was not faulted.
Lawal, who spoke against the background of contradictory interpretations given to the appellate court judgment, noted that there was no ambiguity in the resolution of the first leg of the issues, which bordered on the conduct of the election.
While stressing that the issue of conduct of the March 9, 2019, gubernatorial poll in the state was resolved convincingly in favour of Engineer Seyi Makinde, the lawyer maintained that the appellate court accommodates the legal challenge based on Section 138 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
He stated: “It should be set out from the beginning that Oyo State indigenes must not feel worried over the manner of the judgment delivery.
“It was not unusual, especially in election judgments either Tribunal or Appellate Court. The reasons for this are simple. The conduct of elections, announcement, and declaration of results are codified and embodied in the Electoral Act.”
Barrister Lawal, who is also the Aare Bamofin of Kishi land, noted that the “success (of the election) was overwhelming that though it was challenged, the Tribunal unanimously dismissed the petition By section 138 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, only four grounds were stated upon which an election can be questioned.”
“In summary, that the person, whose election is questioned was not qualified, that the election was invalid by reason of noncompliance with the Act, that the respondent (Makinde) was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the election, and that the petitioner was validly nominated, but wrongfully excluded.
“Of the four grounds listed above, the appellant feebly fought on grounds three and four. Hence, the dismissal of the petition at the Tribunal level… And also, the current state of the law is to the effect that largely judgments on elections must be founded on the actual conduct of that particular election,” he surmised.
The legal practitioner maintained that “there must be no extraneous considerations,” remarking that both the Tribunal and Court of Appeal were circumscribed by the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
He added: “It is in this regard that petitions are regarded as sui generis, without being availed of the precise decisions of the Court of Appeal Ibadan Division, it is safe to assure the people that the judgment was totally in favour of Governor Makinde.
“From what I gathered, the Court of Appeal decided that it could neither order for retrial nor rerun. That was a sound judgment. Retrial of the petition was not available to the Court on account of effluxion of 180days provided by the Constitution within which the Tribunal must hear and determine the petition.
“That period had lapsed to Makinde’s advantage. The allegations of breach of fair hearing, which the court sustained have nothing to do with the respondent (Makinde). It was allegation against the Tribunal. Were this to be ordinary civil or criminal matter, a retrial order would suffice.
“Alas, this is election matter. As I said earlier, it is sui generis. Retrial could not be possible, because the Tribunal is already funtus Officio. Now, the Court also decided that it could not order for a rerun of the election, because the appellant made no convincing case.”
The legal practitioner dismissed the attempt to mislead the electorate, stressing that the Appeal was dismissed and as far as Makinde remained the governor, the court had confirmed his mandate that was freely given as sacrosanct
While enjoining the Oyo chief executive to continue with his laudable policies and steps, Lawal praised the governor’s reciprocate the trust of the electorate by pursuing good policies, especially in the areas of educational and agricultural development.
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