Eligibility suit: A’Court fixes date in hearing of Adeleke, PDP’s appeals
…as Improper service stalls hearing again
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has scheduled hearing for May 8 in the separate appeals by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the last governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
The PDP and Adeleke are challenging the April 2, 2019 judgment by Justice Othman Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Bwari.
Justice Musa held, in the judgment, that Adeleke did not possess valid secondary school certificate for him to be eligible to stand election for the seat of the Governor of Osun State.
The judge noted while the court’s findings showed that Adeleke entered secondary school in 1976, there was no record to show that he actually graduated as his name was not seen in the school’s register from 1980.
According to him, 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 in the suit by Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, who claimed that Adeleke as not qualified, under Section 177 of the Constitution to contest the governorship election.
At the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, proceedings were stalled when owing to the absence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the discovery, by the court, that the PDP has filed a separate appeal.
Justice Abubakaakar Yahaya, who led the court’s three-man panel, said the court learnt the PDP filed a separate appeal on the same judgment and has elected to hear both together.
Justice Yahaya also noted that INEC was absent and as not represented by a lawyer.
Justice Yahaya said: “We are not going to consolidate the appeals, but it is only proper for us to hear all the appeals on similar subject matter on the same day.
“We have seen that most of the processes have been exchanged,” the judge said, but added that the appeal by the PDP must be heard with the one filed by Adeleke, because they are on the same judgment.
He adjourned till May 8 for the hearing of both appeal and directed that “hearing notice shall be served on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
The appeal by Adeleke could also not be heard on April 25 this year owing to improper service on the part of the appellant.
Upon complaint by lawyer to Raheem and Habeeb, Bankole Komolafe, Justice Stephen Adah, who presided, agreed with Komolafe that the appellants did not serve the respondents with the complete record of appeal.
Justice Adah, while addressing Adeleke’s lawyer, Nathaniel Oke (SAN), said: “If you have errors in your record, it is your responsibility to correct them.
“Why do you have to serve counsel with incomplete process and still go ahead to put the blame on them?
“This is not an election petition; so, the practice direction where respondents are only given five days to respond to processes applied.
“In the circumstance, you must correct the record and give them time to respond. The matter is therefore adjourned until May 2 for hearing of the appeal,” Adah held.