Law News
Poll: S’Court delivers judgment in Omisore’s appeal May 27

The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed May 27, 2015 for judgment in the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the August 9, 2014 governorship election in Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, against the election of the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, the incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

The seven-man panel of the apex court, led by Justice John Fabiyi, fixed the date for judgment after parties adopted and argued their respective briefs on Thursday.

Omisore, who was personally present in court during the Thursday’s proceedings, urged the apex court, through his counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), to set aside the concurrent judgments of the two lower courts.

Omisore and his party had filed the appeals against the decisions of the Justice Gana Mshelia-led panel of the Court of Appeal in Akure which, on April 2, 2015, affirmed the earlier judgment of the Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

The Justice Elizabeth Ikpejime-led tribunal had on February 6, 2015 dismissed Omisore’s petition for lacking in merit and affirmed Aregbesola’s victory.

Izinyon, who filed two separate appeals on behalf of Omisore and the PDP challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal, urged the Supreme Court to allow his appeals and dismiss the cross-appeal filed by Aregbeso

One of the appeals emanated from the main judgment of the Court of Appeal while the other appeal and the respondents’ cross-appeal arose from the decision of the appellate court on the admissibility of a document in favour of the petitioners at the tribunal.

But the three respondents to the appeals – Aregbesola, the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission – who were represented by different lawyers, separately urged the court to dismiss the appeals.

Izinyon, who led other five SANs and a battery of other junior lawyers, while arguing the appellants’ briefs, argued that both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal identified irregularities characterising the conduct of the election but refused to make the proper findings concerning them.

He said, “The trial court said it identified irregularities but the Court of Appeal did not make any finding as it ought to do in respect of alleged irregularities in the election.

“We complained about the analysis of irregularities by the court below but it was ignored. The burden of proof and the onus of proof were misapplied by the court below.

“We urge this court (Supreme Court) to hold that lack of finding on the irregularities led to miscarriage of justice.”

The counsel for Aregbesola, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), that of APC, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), and that of the INEC, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who canvassed similar arguments in their separate responses, urged the apex court to dismiss the two appeals of the appellants.

They argued that with the 43 witnesses called by the appellants giving hearsay evidence and also had their evidence discredited during cross-examination, there was nothing left on which the petition could stand.

Olujinmi said, “This is a case in which the appellants called 43 witnesses and only seven were party agents. The rest were called supervisors.

“The PW15 and PW35 which they called experts said ‘we derived our evidence from what our agents told us. The evidence is clearly hearsay and there was no way the tribunal could have made any use of it other than to treat as a mere hearsay.

“The seven party agents called were discredited. PW1 who was their star witness, said he was told what he told there court.

“The so-called experts admitted that their reports were false.

Your Lordships, there is no evidence to rely on in order to sustain the petition.

“My question is that is there any element of evidence to rely on to get this court to allow these appeals? My answer is none.

Akeredolu contended that the judgment of the courts below could not be faulted as the Court of Appeal held in its judgment that the reports of the expert witnesses of the appellants were not more than the deduction any literate person could make.

Akeredolu, who appeared with Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) for the APC, said, “In rejecting their reports, the Court of Appeal held that there was no expertise and that any literate person could make the deduction.

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