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Certificate saga: Court voids participation of PDP candidate, Adeleke in Osun governorship poll

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Bwari, Abuja yesterday voided the participation of  Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election in Osun State.

Justice Othman Musa, in a judgment,  annulled Adeleke’s nomination as candidate of the PDP on the grounds that he offended Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The section states that candidates for governor must be educated up to secondary school level.

Justice Musa said while the court’s findings showed that Adeleke entered secondary school in 1976, there was no record showing that he (Adeleke) actually graduated.

The judge said Adeleke’s name was no longer seen in the school’s register from 1980.

Justice Musa noted that the result Adeleke attached to the Form CF001, which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was fake, as it was found to be different from the one presented to the court by the principal of Ede Muslim High School, Ede, Osun State.

The judgment was on a suit filed by Wahab Adekunle Raheem and Adam Omosalewa Habeeb.

The plaintiffs had accused Adeleke of not possessing the requisite educational qualification (secondary school certificate) to contest for the office of governor.

They contented, among others, that Adeleke’s claim that he sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in May/June 1981 could not be true because Secondary School Certificate Examination had not been introduced then.

The plaintiffs argued that what was in existence then was the West African School Certificate Examination.

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They urged the court to, among others, disqualify Adeleke from participating in the governorship election on the grounds that he did not possess the required educational qualification.

At the preliminary stages in the case, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), in response to a September 11, 2018, ex-parte order by the court,  provided evidence that Adeleke sat for its May/June 1981 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination.

In its affidavit sworn to by Henry Sunday Adewunmi Osindeinde, a Deputy Registrar/Head of School Examination Department, WAEC, said Adeleke sat for the May/June 1981 examination at Ede Muslim High School, Yidi Road, Ede, with Centre Number 19645 and Candidate Number 149.

WAEC attached a copy of the results of all 122 candidates who sat for the May/June 1981 in Ede Muslim High School.

In the attached results, Adeleke is listed as number 149. He sat for only English Language in which he scored F9.

He was said not to have sat for Literature in English, Islamic Knowledge, Geography, Economics, Mathematics and Biology.

Osindeinde said in the affidavit: “By virtue of my position as Deputy Registrar/Head of School Examination Department, I have read the enrolled order of this court (specifically orders iv, v and vi) dated 11th September, 2018 directing and compelling the WAEC to depose to an affidavit confirming or denying the said orders contained in the said enrolled order and referred to in this paragraph and I wish to state as follows:

The said candidate named in this suit known as Adeleke Ademola, with Centre Number 19645 and Candidate Number 149, indeed sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in May/June 1981 conducted by the council at Ede Muslim High School situate at P. O. Box 6 Yidi Road, Ede, State of Osun.

The copy of the result listing referred to by the court order as the ledger containing the results of all the candidates (001 – 221) who sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in the said school is hereby certified, attached and marked: Exhibit WA1.”

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Bankole Akomolafe hailed the court’s decision. Adeleke’s counsel Nathaniel Oke (SAN) faulted the judgement. He said the judge erred in law by going out of his way to source for evidence to arrive at his “unjust conclusion”.

The lawyer said the court was wrong when it ignored WAEC’s evidence that Adeleke was educated up to secondary school as required by law.

Oke said his client was  qualified for the election and met the constitutional requirement, having been educated to secondary school level.

He said a High Court in Osun State had, in an earlier judgment, confirmed that Adeleke was qualified, having attended a secondary school.

Oke said he drew the court’s attention to the fact that the case was statute barred in view of the fourth alteration to the Constitution, because as a pre-election matter it was filed outside the stipulated 14 days, but “the judge said my argument was an attempt to arrest his judgment”. “He went ahead to read the judgment.

He went on: “They said he (Adeleke) did not attend secondary school. They (the plaintiffs) were the one who asked that officials of WAEC be subpoenaed to produce his result. And officials of WAEC tendered his result in court.

What else do they want to prove that he was educated to secondary school level as required by the Constitution?”

The lawyer said the issue had been settled by an earlier judgment of a High Court of Osun State, which held that Adeleke was qualified to stand election, having been educated up to secondary school level.

We have asked the judge to make the certified true copy of the judgment available to us on time, because we are appealing the judgment,” Oke said.

 

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