The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can issue a certificate of return to Sen Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) only if the embattled governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola fails to appeal the judgment of the tribunal that sacked him within 21 days, the commission said yesterday.
The Osun State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja had last week Friday in a split decision of two to one, nullified the election of Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and declared Adeleke winner of the 2018 gubernatorial election.
Justice Peter Obiora who delivered the majority judgment of the tribunal ordered INEC to immediately issue a fresh certificate of return to Adeleke as the lawful and validly elected governor of Osun State, after declaring the September 27, 2018 re-run election as illegal.
Yesterday, rumours went round the social media with pictures suggesting INEC issued a certificate of return to Adeleke.
But going by Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, a candidate whose election is set aside has a period of 21days from the date of the decision of the court to appeal against such a ruling.
However, if Oyetola fails to appeal the judgment, INEC will have no option than to issue a certificate of return to Adeleke after the 21 days window expired.
“The commission has not issued any new certificate in relation to Osun State,” INEC National Commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr Festus Okoye told LEADERSHIP while debunking rumours that Adeleke has been issued a certificate of return.
“Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act gives a candidate whose election is set aside a period of 21days from the date of the decision to appeal against such a decision,” Okoye said while explaining why the commission can’t issue a certificate of return to Adeleke.
“The person is entitled to remain in office pending the determination of the appeal. The commission will only issue the certificate if appeal is not lodged within 21 days. The commission has not issued any new certificate in relation to Osun State,” Okoye added.