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Osun election: Tribunal dismisses Aregbesola's application again

Posted by By GABRIEL DIKE, Osogbo on 2008/04/15 | Views: 484 |

Osun election: Tribunal dismisses Aregbesola's application again

The Osun State election petition tribunal, sitting in Osogbo, yesterday dismissed another application for a stay of proceedings brought by the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the April 14,2007 election, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola, in the hearing of his petition.

The Osun State election petition tribunal, sitting in Osogbo, yesterday dismissed another application for a stay of proceedings brought by the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the April 14,2007 election, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola, in the hearing of his petition.

Counsel to Aregbesola, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), had informed the tribunal that his client had appealed the tribunal’s verdict of March 17, 2008 in which it dismissed an application by Aregbesola, seeking to halt the tribunal’s proceedings.

He informed the tribunal that the Court of Appeal had fixed April 15, 2008 for hearing of the appeal on the refusal of the tribunal to stay proceedings pending the determination of another appeal on the suitability of Adrian Forty to testify in the case.

Akeredolu then moved an oral application seeking “a short stay of proceedings,” pending the decision of the Court of Appeal, saying his new application was not the same as the earlier one in which he sought “a stay of proceedings.”

The AC application was opposed by Kunle Kalejaye (SAN), counsel to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Joe Gadzama (SAN), who argued that Akeredolu, in moving the application, was indirectly asking the tribunal to overrule itself.

They both contended that there was no difference between the earlier application which was rejected by the tribunal in March this year and the present one. They said the goal of both applications was to halt proceedings in the case by the tribunal.

The counsel, to Oyinlola and PDP, specifically argued that it was wrong of Akeredolu to have brought an oral application for a stay of proceedings even after same had earlier been refused by the same tribunal.

According to Kalejaiye, “the tribunal, though has discretional powers, it must, however, exercise this judiciously and judicially. The filing of an interlocutory appeal in an election petition does not necessarily result in a stay. Election petitions are sui generis, that is, they are in a world of their own, where time is of primary essence. If the petitioners know that they cannot go on with their case, let them withdraw it.”
Gadzama, in his own argument, averred that there should be consistency in the decision of a court of law.

He said: “I want to emphasize that this tribunal has taken a decision on this matter. There should be consistency. Apart from that, I want to say that all the cases cited by Akeredolu are normal civil cases. The mere fact that he has not been able to cite any authority staying an election petition means that his position is not the position of the law.
“If the petitioners are not ready to continue with the case, they should withdraw it or the court should assist them to strike it out.”

A drama thereafter ensued when Mr. Niyi Owolade, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, representing the police, pointed out that a letter Akeredolu addressed to the tribunal and upon which he based his application, actually sought an adjournment and not a stay of proceedings, urging the tribunal not to grant the application.

Akeredolu then got up and desperately wanted to change his application saying what he wanted was no longer a stay of proceedings but an adjournment as noticed by the police counsel.
An attempt by him to re – argue the case was opposed by Kalejaye and the opposition was sustained by the tribunal which ordered Akeredolu to address it only on points of law.

In his ruling, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Thomas Naron maintained that the application would amount to a wrongful exercise of the tribunal’s discretion to grant the application after it had earlier dismissed same on 17 March, 2008.
Justice Naron noted that the application brought by Akeredolu was the same in material and substance with the one earlier dismissed.

It accordingly refused to grant the application and then adjourned the case till 17 and 18 April, “for definite continuation of hearing”.
Meanwhile, the PDP has expressed surprise that the AC candidate was doing all he could to slow down the proceedings of the tribunal in his own petition.

National Vice Chairman of the PDP (South West), Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo who witnessed the proceedings expressed satisfaction with the decision of the tribunal which he said was based on a sound application of law.

He, however, said it was surprising that Aregbesola who should be interested in the quick determination of his case was the one asking for a stay of proceedings.

“It is an irony that we who are in government are the ones working for a quick determination of this case. The AC people who came to court in the first instance, are sadly not interested in the case ending as early as possible. We are, however, proud of the judiciary which has shown tremendous courage and honesty in carrying out its duties,” he said.

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown