Op-Ed: Implications of Oyetola’s Legal Setbacks on Guber Tribunal

By Wale Abdulahi

The ruling against Governor Gboyega Oyetola came to many as a surprise. It constitutes major setback for the defeated Governor and also indicated more negative fallouts for the Iragbiji politician.

Yes, the Governor has the grace to appeal the judgement up to Supreme Court. Irrespective of that window of opportunity, he is as at today, not a contender in the July 16 election in the face of the law. Hence, his involvement in whatever capacity lacks any legal foundation. As his candidacy is null and void, so was his participation at the poll an extended illegality. By extension therefore, his petition at the Tribunal is simply a nullity.

The Governor’s predicament is compounded by myriads of challenges. His surrogate case through Dotun Babayemi failed miserably on his birthday, 29th of September. The Insurance man had calculated that an invalidation of primaries that produced Ademola Adeleke will imply PDP having no candidate at the election and therefore Oyetola as the runner up automatically the actual winner. It was an evil genius of a mind on both sides of the bargain as Babayemi had wilfully acted as a tool to destroy his own party. Oyetola also hoped to benefit from the unwholesome enterprise, casting himself in a garb of inordinate power seeker with no tinge of morality.

It is then somehow not strange that the Governor was repaid in his own coin. The table turned less than 24 hours and the hunter becomes the hunted. Today, APC had no candidate in the July election. INEC’s declaration of Adeleke as winner remains.

When Oyetola eventually appeal the judgement, he would then have extra wahala on his head. While his push to deny Adeleke of his victory has become unsustainable and impossible, his focus will now be both Tribunal and the disqualification case. An usurper after somebody’s asset is hunted on all fronts. Increasingly, his capacity to push a hopeless case at the Tribunal is irreparably degraded and destroyed.

Having offended the judiciary by media trial of his petition, he has become a marked figure before the lord justices. Having failed to apologise for derisive treatment of the Tribunal, he has become a fatally injured animal easily tracked by the strong arm of the law. Oyetola is therefore not only a failed project, his options are also growing less and dim by the day.

So the impact of the ruling on the Tribunal matter is multi-dimensional. A politician who is not a candidate at an election has no locus standi to file an election petition. This Iragbiji man lacks actus reus, a fortiori, amicus curiae, a posteriori, a priori, audi alteram partem, autrefois acquit. He does not exist before the law; his petition is not known; and ceases to be a contestant at July 16th poll.

Critical implication is the legal cloud and storm this has put the “unknown” petitioner. On October 4th, when the Tribunal resumes, it is safe to assume there is no petition before the lord justices. Whatever is before the panel is a baby of illegality that cannot stand before the hallowed chamber of illegality.

Yes, Oyetola will appeal the judgement. But as long as the judgement subsists, he is an interloper, a man suffering from double jeopardy, having received two blows and two gifts on his birthday.

Put more directly, Oyetola’s originally weak case at the Tribunal has irredeemably collapsed. Adeleke’s victory is getting consolidated.

●Wale writes from Olode’s family, Iwo, Osun State

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