The Oyo State chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday argued over an appeal court ruling in favour of the opposition APC but which left Governor Seyi Makinde in office.
Mr Makinde also reacted to the ruling, saying he remains the governor of the Oyo State.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the court in Ibadan on Monday set aside the election tribunal judgement that nullified the petition brought to the court by Mr Adelabu against Mr Makinde.
The tribunal had in September dismissed Mr Adelabu’s petition challenging the election of Mr Makinde as the governor of Oyo State.
But, the appeal court on Monday said the judgement of the tribunal dismissing Mr Adelabu’s petition was “perverse” and therefore set the judgement aside.
Parties Interpret ruling
The two political parties are currently interpreting the judgement in different ways.
While the APC perceives the judgement as an affirmation of the independence of the judiciary, an unimpressed PDP terms it as a “test case for the judiciary and democracy”.
The APC, in a statement signed by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Ayobami Adejumo, lauded the ruling.
“The verdict given on Monday was unambiguous, apt and sound enough to convince any informed mind about the genuineness of our claim that Makinde’s declaration as the winner of the March 9 poll was done by INEC in error.
“The results announced were ridiculously inflated and there is no way such conspiracy could stand the test of proper scrutiny as this was just confirmed by the Appellate Court.
“While we use this opportunity to salute the court for living up to its responsibility as the last hope of the common man, we are appealing to the good people of the state including Oyo APC faithful and other key stakeholders to remain calm and resist from being provoked by the PDP government and its agents who are apparently occupying the Agodi Government House on a borrowed time,” Mr Adejumo said.
Next line of action
“Obviously, the next line of action is for us as a party and our gubernatorial hopeful to approach the Supreme Court for perfection of the landmark verdict delivered by the Court of Appeal today.
“By the special Grace of God, we shall obtain favorable judgment from the Apex Court as only this would lend credence to the fact Nigeria’s democratic practice is premised on free and fair elections as well as the rule of law,” the party said.
‘Makinde remains governor’
Meanwhile, the PDP Publicity Secretary, Akeem Olatunji, said despite the APC’s elation, Mr Makinde remains the governor of the State.
“Going by the judgment of the Appeal Court, Seyi Makinde remains the Governor of Oyo State as the PDP got her mandate through the March 9th election of which the Judges could not fault its fairness and the party is happy that the tribunal upheld the election in her ruling.
“Governor Seyi Makinde as the candidate of PDP polled 515,621 votes as against 357,982 votes scored by the APC candidate, Bayo Adelabu, with a wide margin of over 150,000 votes to defeat the APC candidate.
“Such a landslide freely given by the Oyo State electorates and the entire masses is beyond manipulation or abracadabra.
“Governor Seyi Makinde did not get his mandate through the lower Election Petition Tribunal but in a free and fair election conducted by INEC, hence the mandate is intact and it should be noted that Agodi government house is not vacant for whatever reason until 2023 when INEC will be lifting bans on political aspiration.
“We are not in crisis, the Governor is unruffled and our great party, PDP, view the whole drama as a charade of absurdity. If APC felt aggrieved, they are free to continue litigation while we at PDP continue with good governance,” the party said.
NAN also reported how Mr Makinde, in reaction, said the mandate given to him by the people of the state on March 9, 2019 remains intact, following the judgment.
Mr Makinde, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, declared that the mandate could not be taken away from him through the backdoor.
The statement reads: “There is no ambiguity as to the state of things in our pacesetter state as far as the election of March 9, 2019 is concerned.
“Our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won the election. The victory was reaffirmed by the judgment of the Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Ibadan.
“On Monday, the Court of Appeal, also sitting in Ibadan, delivered its judgment on the appeal by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adebayo Adelabu.
“In its judgment, the Appeal Court refused to grant any of the three key reliefs sought by the APC candidate.
“The court refused to nullify the election; it also refused to order a fresh election or the retrial of the petition.
“With the above being the reality of the outcome of the Appeal Court judgment, the election of Seyi Makinde as the Governor of Oyo State has just been reaffirmed.
“There is nothing in the Appeal Court’s judgment that affects the returns made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and there is nothing that tampers with the mandate freely given to Seyi Makinde by the people of Oyo State.”