Much ado about Osun tribunal’s verdict

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The verdict pronounced by the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal chaired by Justice Tetse Kume against Senator.Ademola Adeleke of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and in favour of Mr. Oyetola Adegboyega of All Progressives Congress (APC) has generated scorching ruckus and immaterial exchange of bellicose statements on social media platforms.

It will be recalled that Adeleke was proclaimed as the winner of the gubernatorial election held on July 16, 2022, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). After his triumph, in his characteristic manner, Adeleke began jubilating by dancing not knowing that the table would soon turn against him.

Like sugar attracts ants, the dancing senator’s victory attracted the flood of congratulatory letters and messages from his well-wishers, friends, supporters, etc. from all walks of life while some people especially the political pundits admonished him on the page of newspapers to quickly swing into action of meticulously performing the arduous responsibilities as the number one citizen of the state noting that governance is more than mere dancing.

Nonetheless, according to the investigation and the recent verdict of the tribunal, despite the strenuous efforts of the INEC to forestall the manipulation of the gubernatorial election through the technological gadgets put into place, election rigging still came to play. If not so, there will not be over-voting in some polling units as claimed. It was professed that after the nullification of some invalid ballots, Oyetola of APC had 314,931 votes to defeat Adeleke’s 290,266 votes.

The manipulation of election saga in Osun state as unveiled by the tribunal pitched me to the speculation that if the Nigeria presidential election on February 25 will be free and fair like that of the 1993 presidential election which favoured Chief Moshood Abiola, a business tycoon and the publisher of Concord newspaper.

In a video clip I watched online of recent, a number of men and women in Osun state, in a furious manner, claimed that the majority of the them cast their votes for the dancing senator. They said that the judgment is not, in anyway, accepted. However, in my rational perspective, what rendered their howl as zilch is the last statement perhaps unconsciously uttered by them that Adeleke should be reinstated that refusal to do so may end in mayhem. Will unleashing of terror quench the burning fire of this political issue?

Anyway, Oyetola should be commended for his courage and determination to take the case to the election tribunal in the first place. If he had succumbed or accepted the defeat, the judgement of Osun state governorship election petition tribunal would not have occurred.

On the other hand, I doff my hat for the sacked governor of Osun state for the level of his optimism and his grand regard for the rule of law by pleading to his ardent supporters to maintain the peace and by taking the quick step of heading to the Appeal Court where another judgement, in favour or against, will be delivered. This means the APC candidate proclaimed as the governor of Osun state now by the tribunal should not feel fulfilled yet.

The Osun state government is earnestly beseeched to beef up security in the state. Any individual irrespective of his or her status should be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law if any illicit action or atrocity is perpetrated. Without doing this, security situation in the state may deteriorate to an unmanageable level if orgy of violence is staged.

The issue in the discourse serves as a great warning to the political scavengers, ardent supporters of political parties and the candidates vying to mount the presidential mantle of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to maintain the law and order and pay no respect for electoral malpractice which is one of the major problems affecting the choice of the masses.

As Osun governorship seat tussle goes to the Appeal Court, which party will laugh last is the question pleading for a prompt answer.

Olayode Inaolaji,

Ogbomoso, Oyo state

[email protected]

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