Only BVAS or INEC CTC can prove voters accreditation in polling units – Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court has affirmed Ademola Adeleke as the governor of Osun, therefore, dismissing the appeals filed by Gboyega Oyetola.

Emmanuel Agim, in the lead judgment, held that Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress, APC failed to tender relevant materials such as the BVAS from the 744 polling units in the state, INEC voters’ register or form EC8A showing the number of votes cast at each unit.

He said: “It is glaring that the appellant did not provide in evidence, any BVAS, but sought to prove over-voting by means of a report of examination of INEC’s database or backend server”

The Apex court further held that the information from the BVR relied on by petitioners was not a direct record of the number of accredited voters but third-hand evidence derived from the database which is second-hand evidence derived from transmissions from the BVAS.

The court also ruled that the information at the backend saver might not be accurate because the BVAS might fail to transmit records for several reasons including poor internet connection, loss of battery power, and failure of INEC officials to properly press the submit button among others.

“So the database or any extract of it contains only what is transmitted from the BVAS to it and therefore, cannot be a complete and accurate record of the information in the BVAS”

The court further said that no law requires presiding officers to transmit the number of accredited voters or accreditation of the polls to the database or backend server of INEC by BVAS.

“Therefore, the case of the petitioners that the presiding officers were bound to instantly or on-the-spot transmit the number of accredited voters in the BVAS to the backend server of INEC, has no support.

“In the light of the foregoing, I hold that it is the record in the BVAS machine of the accredited voters or a certified true copy of an INEC certificate of that record for each polling unit that can prove the number of accredited voters in a polling unit on the day of the election and nothing else.”

The court equally rejected the claims by Oyetola that the argument of the petitioners that the voters register was not relevant.

Relying on the INEC regulations for the conduct of elections and the electoral act, the court held that the voters register was still relevant in voter accreditation and is to be used as well with the BVAS machine.

“It is glaring from the foregoing that the appellants did not adduce relevant admissible evidence to prove non-accreditation of voters, improper accreditation of voters and over-voting. By virtue of section 131 and section 133(1)(2) of the evidence act, the appellants had the primary legal burden to prove the facts asserted by them in their petition.

“The court of appeal correctly found that the appellants failed to prove grounds two and three of their petition and correctly allowed the appeal on those grounds to set aside the decision of the tribunal,” It ruled.

Meanwhile, Adeleke has hailed the Supreme Court judgement validating his governorship election, describing the outcome as historic and a landmark development in the history of Osun politics.

Addressing journalists at his country home after the apex court ruling, the Governor surrounded by enthusiastic supporters said “Today is the day our God ordained to stamp his authority as the owner and giver of power;

“Today is that moment when the will of the people ordained by God survives the anti-masses plot of powerful forces;

“We therefore celebrate God Almighty, the author and finisher of our faith;

“We dedicate today’s victory to him, as we finally assume the governorship of this great state of living spring;

“State power is of God and He bestows it on whoever he wills – I will remain God driven, divinely inspired governing with the fear of God;

“Our governorship is an affirmation that a government of the people, by the people and for the people is possible;

“Our victory is a testimony that people’s will backed by divine will can withstand and survive plots of anti-democratic elements;

“I must therefore express my heartfelt appreciation to the great people of osun state for your deep support. on behalf of my family and party, i say thank you;

“To the judiciary, Osun has emerged as a moral compass, affirming the integrity of my lord justices;

“Your affirmation for truth and people’s will consolidates and strengthens our democracy. on behalf of osun people, we appreciate you and we adore your love for justice and equity;

“To all stakeholders in the osun project, be assured that the revalidation of our mandate is a challenge, a call to duty, a fresh demand for more dividends of democracy;

“I commit myself to an even more expanded delivery of good governance; in me, you will find a truly pro-people Govern