On Friday, the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Osogbo, Osun State, overturned the result of the governorship election held on July 16, 2022.
The tribunal, in its ruling, found that there was over-voting in some local government areas in the state and deducted the votes obtained from those areas from the overall votes obtained by the two leading candidates, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC)during the exercise.
In the end, the decision favoured Oyetola, with the tribunal directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return earlier issued to Adeleke, who was recently sworn in as governor of the state, and issue a new one to the APC candidate.
This, however, was not the first time a tribunal or a court would be overturning the result of a governorship election since Nigeria’s return to a democratic system of government in 1999. Here are seven other instances:
Peter Obi, the current presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), twice tasted victory while vying for the governorship office in his native Anambra State.
In 2003, Obi contested as a candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) party, but his opponent, Chris Ngige of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He was later declared winner by the Court of Appeal, after three years of litigation, on March 15, 2006. He would eventually be sworn in on March 17, 2006.
After spending just seven months in office, he was impeached by the State House of Assembly on November 2, 2006, and replaced the next day by Virginia Etiaba, his deputy.
Obi successfully challenged his impeachment and was reinstated as the governor on February 9, 2007, by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu.
After Andy Uba of the PDP was sworn in when the 2007 governorship election was conducted, Obi’s camp, yet again, went to court to challenge the election result.
This time, the Supreme Court ruled in Obi’s favour, ordering Uba to vacate office immediately. The supreme court also ruled that under the constitution, a state governor’s tenure should last four years, therefore Obi should stay in power until March 2010.
In 2007, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, a former Minister of Transportation, became a beneficiary of a court ruling after an eight-month litigation.
Before the matter was taken to court, Amaechi had won the governorship primaries of the PDP in Rivers. He was, however, substituted with Celestine Omehia by the chieftains of the ruling party before the year’s election.
Omehia would go on to win the governorship election at the state level.
Amaechi challenged his substitution but failed to win at both High Court and Appeal Court levels. He was eventually declared winner by a seven-man panel at the Supreme Court in an unanimous decision.
In 2010, the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, declared Rauf Aregbesola, candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), winner of the 2007 governorship election in Osun State.
Aregbesola had in his petition requested the court to cancel the 2007 gubernatorial elections in 10 local government areas of the state where violence and electoral malpractices marred the outcome.
In its ruling, the court affirmed that INEC did not conduct the election in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in accordance with the Electoral Act.
It went on to annul the election held in the disputed 10 local government areas and, in an unanimous decision, declared Aregbesola winner. The court also ordered that he be sworn in immediately.
Olagunsoye Oyinlola, incumbent governor of the state, was asked to vacate the seat after his election was declared null and void by the court.
In 2008, the Edo State Election Petitions Tribunal relieved Oserheimen Osunbo, a membef of the PDP, of his role as governor and declared Adams Oshiomhole, candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), winner of the state’s gubernatorial election conducted in 2007.
The tribunal arrived at the decision after a careful scrutiny of the lawful votes and invalid votes cast in 12 contentious local government areas in the state.
In the end, it concluded that Oshiomhole had won the highest number of votes as required by law during the exercise.
The court also immediately ordered that a certificate of return be issued to Oshiomhole and that of Osunbor’s withdrawn.
In 2009, the Appeal Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, upheld the earlier ruling of an Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal and declared Olusegun Mimiko, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), the duly elected governor of Ondo State.
The court ruled that the election result had been manipulated in some local government areas to favour Olusegun Agagu, the then incumbent governor of the state who came to power in 2007.
It then ordered that Mimiko be sworn in immediately as the governor of the state because he won the valid votes in 12 out of the 18 local government areas of the state.
The court also ordered the immediate removal of Agagu from office.
In 2019, Bello Matawalle, candidate of the PDP, became a beneficiary of an unresolved internal crisis within the ruling APC to become the Governor of Zamfara State.
The internal crisis prevented the APC from conducting its primaries within the stipulated time given by INEC and in the end, it was unable to present a candidate for the gubernatorial election.
Matawalle became the governor of the state following a ruling by the Supreme Court which voided all the votes casted in favour of the APC during the election.
In January 2020, the Supreme Court nullified the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP as the Governor of Imo State and declared Hope Uzodinma of the APC winner of the March 9, 2019 election conducted in the state.
The apex court ruled that results from 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during the collation of the final governorship election result in Imo State, thus nullifying the declaration of Ihedioha as governor.
It then ordered that the certificate of return wrongly issued to lhedioha be withdrawn by INEC and a fresh one be issued to Uzodinma as the elected governor of the state.