By Habib Femi Mahmud

From all indications from the events unfolding at the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal, there seems to be no political or constitutional miracle that will ensure the swearing in of the Osun State governor-elect, Senator Ademola Adeleke, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the next governor of Osun State.

From the basic reality on ground at the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal, where the counsel of the PDP admitted that there was over voting in 749 units and prayed and pleaded that the additional votes should be subtracted instead of the outright cancellation of the result of such units, it remains to be seen how this will translate to victory for the PDP and it’s candidate.

But before I go further with this common sense analysis, let us see what the Electoral Act says about the situation of over-voting in an election.

Section 51(2) of the Electoral Act 2022 says, “Where the number of votes cast in an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters in that polling unit, the presiding officer shall cancel the result of the election in that polling unit.”

This is the position of the law and the constitution is supreme, hence the election in those affected polling units will and shall be cancelled. And if and when that happens at the tribunal, two things are bound to happen, either the incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress, APC, will end up leading in the poll with a wide margin, and hence be declared winner of the election and return elected as the governor of Osun State or the election will be declared inconclusive, if the number of the cancelled votes is more than the margin of victory at the election, and a re-run will subsequently be ordered.

From the foregoing, it indicates a WIN WIN situation for Oyetola and the APC.

Now, going back to the prayer of the PDP counsel to the Tribunal, praying for the deduction of the excess votes in the affected 749 polling units, it seems the PDP and its counsel had sat down and made the necessary political arithmetic, and have seen that they are probably at the losing end hence the plea for the subtraction of the excess votes, instead of cancellation of the entire polling units’ results

But, come to think of it, if the votes are to be subtracted, which of the parties’ votes will be subtracted, and will party will bear the burden of such act of subtraction, especially against the backdrop of the fact that over five political parties participated in the election?

It therefore suffice to say that in the present scenario, the only best common sense and constitutional approach to resolve the logjam is the outright cancellation of all the results of the affected polling units. Constitutional provision must be followed and respected.

Conclusively, I wonder what type of political party the PDP is! When the voting system was manual, the ingeniously invented ballot box snatching; and now that electronic voting is the vogue, the party resorted, albeit ingeniously, to over-voting electronically.

Thank God, the APC seems wiser and equal to the PDP’s rigging antics.

•Mamud, a political economist and real estate administrator, writes from Abuja.

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