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Osun governorship: Aregbesola files 31-ground appeal against tribunalís

Posted by From GABRIEL DIKE, Osogbo on 2008/08/05 | Views: 2529 |

Osun governorship: Aregbesola files 31-ground appeal against tribunalís


Less than 24 hours to the expiration of his right to appeal the judgement of the election tribunal, the governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in Osun State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday filed a 31-ground notice of appeal against the verdict of the Justice Thomas Naron-led election petitions tribunal, which ruled in favour of Governor Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on July 15, 2008.

Less than 24 hours to the expiration of his right to appeal the judgement of the election tribunal, the governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in Osun State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday filed a 31-ground notice of appeal against the verdict of the Justice Thomas Naron-led election petitions tribunal, which ruled in favour of Governor Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola on July 15, 2008.

AC in its notice of appeal complained of alleged miscarriage of justice and wrongful exclusion and rejection of vital evidence adduced by Aregbesola, among others. The notice filed by Chief Kola Awodein (SAN), Chief Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN) and Mr. Bashir Ajibola at the Registry of the tribunal in Osogbo on Monday, August 4, 2008, is coming 20 days after the judgement.

ACís grounds of appeal include complaints of the failure of the tribunal to properly evaluate the evidence of the petitionersí witnesses on the erroneous basis that the witnesses were ward supervisors of the AC.
The ward supervisors, the notice of appeal complained further, testified before the tribunal to the fact that their responsibilities included monitoring, supervision and co-ordination of all the activities of their polling agents in all the poll units in their respective wards in addition to monitoring election results at the ward level during collation and to receive written reports from their polling agents.

Another ground of appeal complained about was the failure of the tribunal to consider and act upon documentary evidence admitted in evidence by the tribunal based on Section 132 (1) of the Evidence Act, oral evidence is not admissible in proof of, or to add to, a written document; where a document is tendered in court, such document is the best proof of its contents and no oral evidence will, in law, be allowed to add to it; and that a court can always look at and make use of any documents forming part of its record.

Other ground of the notice of appeal complained about include the refusal of the tribunal to rely and act on the written reports of the polling agents in addition to the complaint that the judges erred in law when, in the course of trial, it rejected in evidence, a certified true copy of the police final security report on the governorship election in Osun state dated April 28, 2008 on the ground that it was stamped "Secret" and was therefore not a public document.

The appeal documents noted that based on the publcation in a magazine on the alleged secret telephone conversation between Justice Thomas Naron, the tribunal chairman and Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN), lead counsel to Oyinlola, there is a ground of appeal to the effect that the members of the tribunal erred in law in proceeding to deliver the judgment of July 15, 2008 when it had in the circumstances become improperly constituted.

The notice stated, "the tribunal by that was no longer competent and had no more jurisdiction to do so, thereby rendering its judgment a nullity."

Among the reliefs sought by AC in the notice of appeal are: "An order allowing the appeal; an order setting aside the judgment and rulings of the Osun State Governorship and Legislative Houses election petition tribunal, holden at Osogbo, which judgment and rulings were delivered on July 15, 2008; an order nullifying the judgment of the tribunal dated July 15, 2008; an order directing a retrial of the petition; an order remitting this petition to the President of the Court of Appeal and directing that the same be heard afresh by a fresh tribunal; an order directing the President of the Court of Appeal to constitute a fresh tribunal for the purpose of hearing the petition afresh.

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