Osogbo – An Election Petition Tribunal has sacked three lawmakers who are members of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Osun State in what looks like a major political setback.
One of the lawmakers is Bamidele Sallam, representing Ede-North/Ede-South/Ejigbo/Egbedore Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, while the remaining two are members of the state House of Assembly.
The two state lawmakers are Adewumi Adeyemi of Obokun State Constituency and Kofoworola Babajide, representing Ede-North State Constituency in the state Assembly.
The three-man tribunal headed by Justice Eyo Ita ordered rerun election into some electoral units within the constituencies.
Other members of the tribunal are Justice Kadi Yakub and Justice Ibrahim Maahi.
In their unanimous judgment, the tribunal nullified the election of Bamidele Sallam of the PDP over alleged over-voting.
The cancelled votes thereafter affected the total results of both the PDP and the APC.
The tribunal also nullified the election of the PDP’s House of Assembly members, Adeyemi and Babajide.
For Ede Federal Constituency, the tribunal cancelled some units in Ede South, Ede North, Ejigbo, and Egbedore as a result of over-voting.
It also ordered rerun election in unit 3, Ede-North, unit 4 in Ede South, unit 3 in Egbedore, and unit 2 in Ejigbo 2 for Ede Federal Constituency.
For Obokun State constituency, the tribunal ordered rerun election in unit 4 in Esa-Oke and Ilase.
The former Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Adejare Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had challenged the declaration of Hon. Salam (PDP) as the winner of the election in Ede Federal constituency.
Hon. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye of the APC challenged the election of Adewumi in Obokun state constituency.
Daud Akinloye of the APC also challenged the election of Kofoworola of the PDP in Ede North.
While reacting to the judgement, Hon. Sallam urged his supporters and the general public to remain calm.
According to him, “The tribunal has stated their position which clearly does not align with the mood of our people who voted wholeheartedly for me as their Representative.
“We are not dismayed, however, because the mandate as freely given to me by the people and stamped by God cannot be stolen by any man.
“Our victory at the February 23 House of Representatives poll is sacrosanct and this minor setback will only sweeten the taste of victory in our mouths.
“My legal team will study the details of this judgment and decide the necessary course of action on it. We are focused and will not lose sight of the goals we have set for service delivery to our constituents.”
Also, in his reaction, the challenger for Obokun State Constituency, Hon. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye of APC, lauded the judgment of the tribunal, describing it as a landmark judgment.
Oyintiloye, in a statement, said the judgement was a confirmation that the election was manipulated to favour the PDP candidate against the popular wish of the people.
According to him, again, the PDP and its candidate had been exposed and the judiciary had restored their hope through the judgement.
While commending the tribunal judges for their fearlessness and commitment to the rule of law, he said the judiciary had again proven its mettle.
Oyintiloye also lauded his lawyer for being committed to the case and putting before the tribunal the legal machinery that eventually led to victory at the tribunal.
He thanked the governor, Gboyega Oyetola, and his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for their support to ensure that the stolen mandate of the people of Obokun was restored.
He also commended leaders of the APC, starting from the Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun, and members of party in the state and Obokun constituency for the support and steadfastness during the nullified election and the tribunal proceedings.