The ruling by the Osun gubernatorial tribunal dismissing Ademola Adeleke of the People's Democratic Party as the state's duly elected governor on Friday is drawing public attention, particularly on social media, but not for the content of the ruling, but for one Expression used by the judge who rendered the verdict.
The head of the tribunal, Justice Tertsea Aorga Kume, read the lead verdict that declared Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the victor in the election, noting that Gov. Ademola Adeleke "can't go lo lo lo." "Buga won"; apparently referring to Governor Adeleke's love of music and dance.
While some people saw nothing wrong with the judge citing Kizz Daniel's song to support the verdict, others saw it as unethical and unnecessary.
The Osun State Chapter of the PDP has already criticized the use of the popular "Buga" lyric, describing it as disrespectful to an elected governor.
In a statement made in Osogbo by the chair of the Osun PDP Caretaker Committee, Akindele Adekunle, the party insisted that Judge Kume's choice of words was unethical and should not have come from a judicial official with such a reputation.
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LEADERSHIP SUNDAY's efforts to get reactions from some of the country's senior lawyers on the issue were unsuccessful, as most of them questioned whether the judge really made the remark, saying they could first comment on it after they have read the verdict .
However, Lagos-based lawyer Mike Ojo saw nothing wrong with the quote, saying judges are products of Nigerian society and use local proverbs, poems and idioms to express themselves.
Ojo noted that legal icons such as Judge Chukwudi Oputa, Judge Kayode Esho, Judge Adolphus Godwin Karibi-Whyte and many others are popular because they use language and illustrations to support their arguments.
He said: "So, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the citation because it hasn't taken away anything from the verdict itself and it doesn't prevent the losing party from appealing the court verdict.
According to other lawyers, the expression is banal and should not have been used by the court.
A senior Nigerian lawyer, Abdul Balogun, called the phrase unnecessary.
According to him, the expression might be funny, but seriously, it has no place in the law and shouldn't have been used.
He said: "The phrase has no place in the law and should therefore not have been used. There are other serious terms the court should have used to get its point across, not lo lo lo lo BUGA”.
Human rights attorney Barrister Edward Omaga also agreed with the lead counsel that the phrase was unnecessary.
“This expression has no place in legal language. It's really so funny," Omaga said.
A constitutional attorney, Barrister Oghenovo Otemu, a constitutional attorney, said the phrase was a disparagement of justice.
He said in the written judgment that judges use expressions in the Koran, the Bible and other wise sayings to make their point clear, but the BUGA expression makes fun of the judiciary.
He said: "To me, in a judgment as serious as the gubernatorial election, the BUGA phrase is banal and should not have been used."
Adeleke, PDP Fault Tribunal verdict, writes INEC
However, Osun State Gov. Ademola Adeleke is undeterred by the social media excitement the phrase has sparked.
Focusing more on the weight of the verdict, he wasted no time asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to issue a return certificate for Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola.
In a letter to the Chair of the Election Arbitrator, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Adeleke, LEADERSHIP Sunday, learned that he was asking INEC not to issue the certificate of return to Oyetola until his appeal process was completed.
The letter, partially signed by Adeleke's attorney Hashim Abioye, reads: "As attorneys for the second respondent, Sen. Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, we humbly write to inform you of the second respondent's dissatisfaction with the majority decision of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal served on January 27, 2023, the second respondent has requested a certified copy of the judgment so that it may pursue its appeal against said judgment.
“In light of the foregoing, we humbly request that you apply the relevant provisions of the Elections Act 2022 by not issuing a certificate (of) return to the first claimant in the petition pending the outcome of the appeal, which we are satisfied will be for our client be cheap".
Meanwhile, in a broadcast to the state's population, Gov. Adeleke insisted the tribunal had not reached a majority verdict.
His words: “Two members of the arbitral tribunal made opposing judgments, the chairman and one member, the member did not make a judgment, she abstained.
Adeleke claimed that the chairman's ruling on the overvote was unfortunate and a miscarriage of justice.
He noted that he has instructed his lawyers to appeal the verdict because he remains governor of Osun state.
Amid protests against the tribunal's verdict, the governor urged the people of Osun to remain calm and go about their normal daily activities peacefully.
Meanwhile, people flocked to Osogbo, Ede, Ilobu and Ilesa to protest the outcome of the tribunal's verdict.
Some of the inscriptions captured by our correspondent include: "This is a miscarriage of justice" "We stand by Imole mandate" "Osun citizens reject Oyetola" "Imole has come to stay"
Men from the Osun State Police Command were on the scene to quell the violence and were forced to fire in the air at the Aregbe junction along Gbongan Road to deter protesters.
dr Akindele Adekunle, chair of the Osun Caretaker Committee, told journalists in Osogbo on Saturday that the ruling by the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Friday was a booby trap against the existence and survival of our already strained democracy.
“Our party takes offense at the blanket rubbish of the recent innovations introduced to the electoral process by the amended 2022 Election Law passed by the National Assembly and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“That the use of the bimodal voter accreditation system as the primary tool in the election, which was seen as useless and insignificant in Mr Tetse Kume's decision-making process, resulted in a deadlocked verdict was something of an anti-climax in a country that was barely on a thin line survives shrinking endurance".
The verdict comes four weeks after the presidential elections, with the PDP's Atiku Abubakar and the APC's Ahmed Tinubu seen as the main candidates. Osun is one of only two states in the southwest ruled by the PDP.
While Adeleke will remain governor through the presidential election, the tribunal's ruling raises the stakes in Osun and gives momentum to the APC ahead of the presidential election.
Court has ruled that Adeleke forged his certificate, Oyetola insists
Meanwhile, Adegboyega Oyetola draws attention to the tribunal's verdict, which insists it proved a case of fraud against incumbent Osun Governor Ademola Adeleke.
His media adviser Isma'il Omipidan quoted the verdict at length in a statement on Saturday.
He said: "However, the court ruled that the fraudulent case brought against Governor Adeleke was insufficient to disqualify him from contesting the gubernatorial election on July 16, adding that he had acquired additional qualifications.
"In delivering the majority verdict, the court, led by Judge Tertsea Kume, found that the petitioners could prove a forgery case against Gov. Adeleke because EC9, the affidavit supporting personal information about the governor, 'told a lie about himself.'
Omipidan said: "Interestingly, the only member of the tribunal, Judge B.A. Ogbuli, who issued a dissenting decision on the tribunal's verdict, agreed with the majority verdict's position on the disqualification issue.
"The court ruled that "the defendant, through Ms. Joan Arabs, produced the D file which was submitted in evidence. The said Annex FILE D relates to the election conducted by the 1st Defendant in 2018.”
“Exhibit EC9, as noted, is the affidavit in support of the second respondent's personal information that he submitted to the first respondent for the July 16, 2022 election.
"On page 2 of Annex EC9, the 2nd respondent (Adeleke) wrote by hand under: (1) School attendance (educational qualification with dates: So: 2. SECONDARY EDE MUSLIM GRAMMAR SCHOOL, EDE - BEBEUCHT 1976 - 1981, PENN FORSTER UNIVERSITY DIPLOMA -2021
"3. HIGHER ATLANTA METROPOLITAN STATE COLLEGE – BSC CRIMINAL JUSTICE 2021.
“On page 4 of exhibit EC9 is a letter of attestation from Ede Muslim High School dated May 22, 2016.
"The petitioners' experienced counsel, as noted, referred to the different names in the schools reproduced above and the evidence admitted by RW2 under cross-examination that the state of Osun was established in 1991, and thus all evidence of a qualifying certificate or document stating that it came from Osun State in 1981 is a fake.
“Forgery is defined in Section 464 of the Osun State Criminal Code (see above) as follows: 464. A document or writing is deemed to be false – “(a) in the case of a document which is a register or record, that of a lawful authority, or an entry in such a register, or purporting to have been issued by a lawful authority, attesting to the contents of a register or record kept by a lawful authority, or as evidence of a fact or event , where essential details are concerned, is incorrect in the document; or “(b) if all or a substantial part of the document or writing was allegedly prepared by or on behalf of any person who did not prepare or authorize it, or if in any case where the time or place of preparation is material , although the document or letter was created by or by the authority of the person who purportedly created it, it has been fraudulently misdated as to the time or place of creation; or (c) if all or a substantial part of the document or letter purports to have been prepared by or on behalf of a person who does not actually exist; or (d) where the document or letter was prepared on behalf of an existing person, either by that person himself or by his authority, with the fraudulent intent that it should be presumed to have been prepared by another person, real or fictitious, as the person that manufactures it or authorizes its manufacture."
"The word 'or' appearing in the section of the Criminal Code reproduced above (see above) is a disjunctive connotation. See Section 18(3) of the Interpretation Act, Laws of Nigeria. See also Suswam v. Govt. of Benue State (2018) LPELR-47368 (CA) 1 at 6-15, para A.
“A clear reading of the Penal Code section reproduced above and Exhibit EC9 reproduced above shows that EC9 is telling a lie about himself. See ACN vs. Lamido (2011) LPELR-91741(CA)1 at 79 80 paras C-A and 80 81 paras F-A.
“In this regard, the falsification of the said documents submitted by the 2nd Defendant (Ademola Adeleke) to the 1st Defendant (INEC) has been proven.