|Godwin Tsa, Abuja
An Abuja High Court sitting in the Bwari division has nullified the nomination of Senator Ademola Adekele as candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the September 2018 governorship election in Osun State.
The Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had in a two-to-one split judgment on March 22, declared Adeleke as the valid winner of the gubernatorial contest.
However, the judgment of the FCT High Court which was delivered by Justice Othman Musa, nullified his nomination on the grounds that he was not qualified to participate in the gubernatorial contest.
But in a swift reaction, Adeleke has vowed to challenge the judgment at the Court of Appeal.
The Senator who spoke through his lawyer, Mr. Nathaniel Oke (SAN), insisted that the judge erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice against him.
He alleged that Justice Musa went beyond what was presented before the court by the parties and on his own sourced the evidence he relied on and arrive at an unjust conclusion in the matter. The embattled PDP candidate said he was confident that the verdict would be overturned by the Court of Appeal, insisting that he had the requisite educational qualification to occupy the Osun State governorship seat.
In his judgment, Justice Musa said he was satisfied that Adeleke does not posses the minimum educational qualification prescribed in Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
In addition, the court noted that the section stipulated that candidates vying for governorship position must be educated up the secondary school level. Justice Musa stressed that whereas the court found that Adeleke entered secondary school in 1976, he said there was no record to show that the PDP’s flag-bearer actually graduated as his name was not found in the school’s register from 1980.
The court held that the result Adeleke attached to Form CF001 he used to secure clearance from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was fake.
It stressed that the result was found to be different from the one that was presented to the court by the Principal of Ede Muslim High School, Ede, Osun State, where Adeleke purportedly graduated from. Consequently, the court held that his nomination to participate in the September 22, 2018, governorship election was bound to be nullified.
The judgment is sequel to a suit that was filed by two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb. The plaintiff had few days to the Osun governorship contest, approached the court for an order to disqualify Adeleke on the premises that he lacked the requisite educational qualification to contest for governor. The plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Bankole Akomolafe, alleged that contrary to what was submitted to INEC, Adeleke did not sit for the WASC examination in 1981 since there was nothing like the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination as at then. Besides, the duo maintained that NECO examination that Adeleke claimed he sat for could not be genuine considering that the body was not in existence as at the time the defendant said he sat for the examination. Owing to issues that were raised in the suit, Justice Musa, on September 11, 2018, summoned WAEC to depose an affidavit to either deny or confirm that Adeleke sat for the examination the council conducted at Ede Muslim High School in Ede, Osun State, in 1981. The court further directed WAEC to file the ledger containing Adeleke’s results and those of his mates with whom he sat for the examinations. Sequel to the order, WAEC, deposed an affidavit wherein it confirmed to the court that Adeleke had indeed participated in the examination it conducted in June 1981, at Ede Muslim School situate dat P.O. Box 6 Yidi Road, Ede, State of Osun. It gave Adeleke’s centre number as 19645 and his candidate number as 149. The examination body also tendered into evidence, a ledger that contained the result of all candidates (001-221) that sat for the SSSCE exam in the school in 1981.