The legal team of Governor Ademola Adeleke has denied a report circulating on social media that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has refused to appeal the judgement of the Osun State election petition tribunal.
The tribunal had nullified Mr Adeleke’s declaration as the winner of the 16 July election and ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to former governor Gboyega Oyetola instead
But Mr Adeleke immediately announced that he would challenge the judgement at the Court of Appeal.
Abdulfatai Abdulsalam, a member of the legal team of the governor, said the report of INEC declining in joining the appeal is false and misleading.
The report claimed that the Court of Appeal rejected the application challenging the judgement of the tribunal because INEC refused to consent to it before it was filed.
The message also indicated that INEC is not willing to be involved in the case and that as such Mr Adeleke would have to leave office in the next 12 days.
“Counsel to Ademola Adeleke submitted his appeal letter last week Tuesday and was rejected by the Appeal Court. The Court said he can’t Appeal without the Consent of INEC because the Judgement was not Directly against his Client but INEC. That INEC is the only one that can Answer the Questions of Over Voting and they must Approve his Appeal Letter before Submission. He has been Begging INEC Since then, but INEC says It’s not interested in the Appeal, Which means that Adeleke Jackson Nurudeen Ademola May Leave Office in 12 days if INEC Refuses to Join the Appeal Application,” the message claimed.
Since the message surfaced on the internet, it has generated interest among supporters of the PDP and APC.
But, Mr Abdulsalam told Journalists that the report is false.
He assured that the judgement will be appealed and INEC is still involved in the suit, expressing assurance that the appellate court will set the tribunal judgement aside.
“Judgement of the governorship election petition tribunal of Osun State like I said is a judgement that will be appealed and we have a very strong hope that the appeal court will do justice to the whole issue,” he said.
“Concerning the very incredible rumour that flies around that INEC is not going to appeal the judgement, it is a very laughable rumour. It is not true at all. I speak, not only from my mouth, I have also confirmed from people who are relevant in INEC,” he added.
“The normal thing is for INEC to appeal with other parties, I want to assure you that INEC is also appealing that judgement,” he assured.
“If that kind if the judgement does not get to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, how do we develop our jurisprudence in Nigeria? How do we develop the Electoral Act we have on ground?
“You know it is positive and it is the best thing for all of us in the case, including INEC to be at the Court of Appeal and by the grace of God at the Supreme Court.”
Another member of Mr Adeleke’s legal team who did not wish to reveal his identity also confirmed that INEC is still involved in the case.
“INEC is appealing, leave them with their rumours,” the lawyer said.
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