President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu, the president-elect, have in separate statements congratulated Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State over his victory at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The president, in a statement by Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity said he recognized the verdict of the apex court as the final in the dispute between Adeleke and Gboyega Oyetola, former governor who lost to Adeleke at the polls in July 2022. He, therefore, enjoined the elite in the state and all residents of the state to rally round the governor to focus on the development of the state. The statement read in part, “With the final decision by the Court, the President reminds the political class and their supporters that the main task at hand is to make the people feel the impact of good governance, where a prosperous, peaceful and stable Osun is guaranteed.”
In his statement of congratulation, Tinubu, whose victory is also being challenged in court by his opponents at the February 25 presidential election, said respecting the decision of the judiciary is part of the beauty of democracy. He implored the people of the state to work for peace and progress. The candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC at the last presidential election praised Oyetola for his adherence to the tenets of democracy and accountability while in office, stating that the former governor may have lost election but his integrity remains intact. The president-elect had thrown his weight behind Oyetola from 2018 when he first ran for office.
Many people believe that the poor performance of the president-elect in the state during the February 25 poll was partly due to the sentiments among the political class about failure to keep the promise made to people of a particular political block in the state and the popularity of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Incidentally, that same political block that complained of being denied representation by the APC is the base of Adeleke.
But president-elect, notwithstanding his position or interest in the matter in Osun State, emphasised the sanctity of judicial pronouncement in keeping with the rule of law. Tinubu, a two-term governor of Lagos State (between 1999 and 2007), therefore, encouraged Adeleke to settle down to work. Hear him: “Now that the matter of the July 16, 2022 Osun State Governorship Election has been brought to a close, I urge Governor Adeleke to immediately settle down to work and continue from where the former governor left it.” He further urged the governor “to unite the state.”
Oyetola had challenged the election of Adeleke at the tribunal, citing over-voting as part of the alleged electoral fraud that gave the governor the edge at the poll. Though the tribunal ruled in favour of the former governor, save for the minority judgement, Adeleke filed an appeal. The appellate court reversed the judgement at the tribunal, and the verdict at the Court of Appeal is what the apex court has unanimously affirmed, thus giving victory to the governor. The Supreme Court said Oyetola failed to prove the allegation of over-voting, and therefore declared Adeleke as the duly elected governor of the state.