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COMMENTARY ON OSUN ELECTION VERDICT
From my initial reading of d verdict of d Tribunal on Osun Gov Electn; it is now clear that some of our Judges are finally rising to d rigorous standard required of them. Unlike the public, Judges have to be technical & nuansed-THREAD
This judgment, even if overturned on appeal, has put INEC on notice on the need for Procedural compliance. The court has signaled that it will expect full compliance to electoral laws & guidelines. INEC cannot publish guidelines, but then go on a frolic of its own on election day
First of all, let me summarise the findings of the Tribunal:
FINDING FOR PDP:
1. "There was substantial non-compliance with provisions of the law in 17 polling units".
As a result, the Tribunal deducted 2,029 votes from APC scores and 1,246 votes from PDP votes in 17 polling...
...units where there was noncompliance. Tribunal held that d CTC should & must be an exact replica of form EC8A pink copies. The discrepancies must therefore be explained & justified. The tribunal held, INEC failed to explain or justify the alterations & nor call any witness...
...to explain it. The tribunal also held that the attempt to explain the alterations on the basis of mere corrections of errors is not acceptable and the fact that the said errors were CONSISTENTLY made on the forms in the disputed areas means it was a deliberate action taken.
2nd FINDING FOR PDP:
2. "The INEC officer who had announced the cancellation of results had no power to do so".

PDP proved to the satisfaction of the Tribunal that it was the State Returning Officer (SRO) who canceled the results in 7 Polling Units (PU), & that the Returning...
...Officer has no power to cancel election results of a polling unit.
In INEC’s Regulations & Guidelines, Presiding Officers (PO) are in charge of PUs & empowered to make declarations relating to their units; not the SRO.
3rd FINDING FOR PDP:
3. The rerun in the seven canceled units is hereby declared null and void and of no electoral effect.

FINDING AGAINST PDP:
1. The PDP failed to prove the allegation of over-voting.
They are able to appeal this if they choose.
THE VERDICT:
"The petitioner (Mr Adeleke) having fulfilled the constitutional requirements and scored the majority lawful vote is declared winner and returned as governor".
These are Technical breaches by INEC of its own guidelines it will seem. So we are getting more clarity from the courts that they will not accept INEC not playing by its own rules or making silly mistakes.
All Participants in our elections from now on MUST understand that bending the rules will be punished by the courts.
But in a dissenting judgment, Mr Surajo (1 of the 3 judges) said the evidence brought forward by PDP was not sufficient to prove the allegation of non-compliance. He also ruled that the INEC was right in its decision to conduct a rerun.
In my view, this judge is not saying there were no breaches; but that they were not sufficient enough to vitiate the result. So the success of any appeal in my judgement, will not be on the basis that there were no breaches or non-compliance. There were.
But whether the non-compliance were of sufficient magnitude to overturn the declared results. This is where Judicial discretion will play a big part. Whatever the final verdict by the Supreme court on this matter; the nation has made a forward stride in making it clear...
...that any non-compliance or breach of guidelines/laws will be a subject of serious judicial consideration and greater weight will be placed on such irregularities. Parties & INEC will no longer want to take such risk in the future.
Based on Rivers state Governorship & SHoA APC legal saga this year; parties will not be willing to take risk with non-compliance with court verdicts in future. Such deterrence is what is needed to promote the rule of law and deepen our democracy. We are getting there 1 by 1.
The Judiciary will be key in helping to sanitize our elections. This analysis is not a case for or against Adeleke candidacy. It is purely a legal exercise at explaining facts & law. We are making progress...one case at a time. We will get there. In the end, Nigeria Must Win. END
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