Nigeria's apex court, Supreme Court, headed by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria Ibrahim Muhammad, is set to give the final judgement on the Osun 2018 governorship election today, Friday, July 5.
The judgement will determine the legal occupant of the governor’s seat between Governor Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on September 27, 2018, declared Oyetola as the winner of the Osun governorship election.
The full result was finally declared after a supplementary election in four local government areas of the state where the exercise had been cancelled but later declared to be re-run.
Senator Adeleke, however, filed a petition at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo to challenge Oyetola's victory.
Adeleke claimed he polled the highest number of votes in the election and asked the tribunal to cancel Oyetola's victory and declare him the winner of the election.
The tribunal in its March 22 ruling declared Adeleke as the winner of the governorship election.
The tribunal said Adeleke won the election at the first ballot on September 22 and the rerun that INEC devised to reach a final conclusion a week later was illegal.
However, on May 9, the five-member panel of the appeal court upheld the victory of Oyetola as Osun state governor.
Adeleke thereafter took the matter to the Supreme Court for final legal redress.
As the apex gives the final verdict today, Friday, July 5, Legit.ng will be providing updates as the proceedings begin.
At 9.27am, the security agents bar journalists and others present from accessing courtroom.
However, a tweet from Senator Ajibola Basiru, representing Osun Central senatorial district, claims four of the seven justices of the Supreme Court are in attendance to deliver the judgement.
Subsequent updates taken from Senator Basiru who is tweeting from the courtroom as our correspondent and other journalists are yet to be allowed in.
According to Senator Basiru, N.O.O Oke and Dr Paul Ananaba, both SAN, led the legal representation for PDP and Senator Adeleke while Abiodun Olaide announced appearance for Governor Oyetola.
Adesina Agbede reportedly announced appearance for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Dr Abiodun Layonu SAN and Chief Yomi Alliyu led appearance for the APC, Senator Basiru also stated.
"There is majority judgment of 5 and dissenting judgment of 2. Appeal dismissed by majority of 5. Tribunal judgment is a nullity," Basiru tweeted.
According to our correspondent who have now gained entrance to the courtroom, the judgement, as Senator Basiru earlier stated, was unanimously delivered by five out of the 7 Justices of the Supreme Court.
The matter was presided over by Justice Rhodes-Vivour. In the lead judgement, the apex court declared that the absence of the judge who read the majority decision of the election tribunal, Justice Peter Obiorah on one of the hearings renders the entire proceedings a nullity.
The judge upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal that the proper thing to have done in he absence of Justice Peter Obiorah was to start the entire trial afresh and affirmed the victory Adegboyega Oyetola of the APC as the duly elected governor of Osun state.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that both the APC and the PDP spoke about their expectations before the final judgement by the apex court.
The two parties expressed optimism about the outcome of the judgement. However, while the Osun state chairman of the PDP, Soji Adagunodo promised that the party will concede defeat if it goes the other way round, the APC publicity secretary in the state, Kunle Oyatomi said the party was not planning for defeat.
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