Osun state governor Gboyega Oyetola may engage no fewer than 50 lawyers, including senior advocates, to challenge the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Ademola Adeleke, in last Saturday’s governorship election in the state, Punch reports.
Telescope.ng reports that a member of the governor’s legal team, Kunle Adegoke, gave this indication in an interview with The Punch on Tuesday, July 19, just as the PDP and the governor-elect warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against allowing the All Progressives Congress (APC) to tamper with election materials.
The governor’s legal team has been sifting through the election results in preparation for taking serious legal action against the declaration of Adeleke as the governor-elect by the INEC.
The electoral body had on Sunday declared Adeleke the winner of the governorship election in the state. The Returning Officer for the election and Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said Adeleke got a total of 403,371 votes to beat the incumbent APC governor, who polled 375,027 votes and 13 other candidates in the keenly contested race.
Oyetola won in 13 local government areas of the state to come second in the election.
Before his electoral loss, Oyetola, had 2018 defeated Adeleke after a run-off, with the support of his predecessor, and now Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and former Lagos state governor and now, APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
After his opponent was declared the winner, the governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismaila Omipidan, told his supporters to remain calm, noting that he would respond after studying the results.
He stated: “Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has taken cognisance of the results of the governorship election in the state as announced by INEC on Sunday.
“He, however, noted that the party would be responding appropriately after studying the results and consulting with critical stakeholders of the party.”
Layonu leads team
But a member of Oyetola’s legal team, Kunle Adegoke (SAN), told The Punch on Tuesday, July 19, that they were still reviewing the results declared by INEC.
He said: “We are still reviewing documents and the legal team is actually working. In an election of this nature, the documents will be so many; so it is important to look at them critically before we make a decision and that is exactly what we are working on right now.
“Dr Biodun Layonu (SAN), is the leader of the team. The legal team is not complete yet because there are so many others that will still come in.
“In the meantime, the two members of the legal team we can reveal are Dr Biodum Layonu and Kunle Adegoke. Others that may come in are people we may not know but as soon as we are ready to move, we will notify the press.
“The membership can’t be determined as many lawyers are interested in joining the team. You know election petition is a special case. So, we allow as many lawyers that are interested to come in. We may run into 50 or more members.”
Commenting on moves by the governor to contest the poll outcome at the election petition tribunal, the Media Adviser to the APC chairman in Osun State, Kola Olabisi, said whatever position was taken by Oyetola on the outcome of the election would also be the stand of the party. Olabisi disclosed this while speaking with The PUNCH on Tuesday.
He said: “I have not read what you said the governor had said but the posture of the party cannot be different from what the governor had said.”
Asked what the governor’s legal team studying the election results had discovered, Olabisi simply said, “It is the legal team that is competent to speak on whatever has been discovered.”
But Adeleke has warned INEC against tampering with the materials used for the July 16 Osun state governorship poll in a bid to favour the APC.
Adeleke in a statement signed by the chairman of his media management team, Prince Diran Odeyemi, alleged that there were insinuations that the leadership of the APC was working on INEC to tamper with some electoral materials that would be used against Adeleke’s victory at the Election Petition Tribunal.
The statement alleged that some APC leaders had been moving around the local government offices of the commission to liaise with the INEC officials who would tamper with some election materials kept in their custody.