The Court of Appeal in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), candidate in last year’s governorship election in Osun state, Iyiola Omisore, against the election petition tribunal’s judgement which affirmed the election of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
Immediately after the judgement, Omisore announced that he would take the matter to the Supreme Court.
The tribunal, whose members were Hon . justice Elizabeth Nguveren Kpojime, Justice Igometi Ofesi and Justice Abubakar Idris Kutigi, had on February 6, 2015, ruled that Aregbesola was the winner of the August 9, 2014 gubernatorial election.
The Court of Appeal panel led by Hon. Justice Mshella, on Thursday affirmed the ruling of the election tribunal.
Omisore had approached the court, arguing that the tribunal erred in law when it failed to evaluate the petitioners’ evidence in line with their pleadings which were largely documentary.
He said that the tribunal failed to separate the allegation of malpractice from non-compliance with the manual and guidelines for the election.
According to him, most of the allegations contained in their petition were directed at the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), which failed to call any witness.
But Aregbesola’s counsel, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), submitted that the issues arising from the appeal were straightforward, saying: “The petitioners at the lower court challenged the victory of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in about 930 polling units spread across 17 local governments.
“In proving their case, the Appellants called 43 witnesses; 34 of them gave hearsay evidence while only seven of their witnesses gave direct oral evidence which was badly discredited under cross-examination. The other two witnesses, a supposedly expert witness by the nature of evidence on record, gave no expert evidence.”
Olujinmi argued that from the nature of evidence given by all the witnesses, no reasonable tribunal could give judgement in favour of the appellants.