Nigeria Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Ademola Adeleke as the Governor of Osun State, South West Nigeria.
Delivering judgment on Tuesday, a five-member panel of the apex court held that the court of appeal correctly reinstated Adeleke as Governor.
Emmanuel Agim, who read the lead judgment, said the former Governor and his party 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.
“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,” Agim said.
The court 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 apex court also noted 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,” Agim added.
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,” he said.
“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 discountenanced 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 pointed out 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,” he further said. – TC