SENATOR Ademola Adeleke has vowed to continue fighting to become the Osun State governor after suffering a major setback yesterday when an Abuja high court nullified his candidacy by ruling that he was unsuitable to stand for the office.
In a highly complicated and complex political drama, Senator Adeleke was declared the winner of the September 2018 Osun State gubernatorial election by the Osun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja. This overturned the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) which had declared Governor Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the winner with a total of 255,505 votes while Senator Adeleke scored 255,023 votes.
Inec had originally declared Governor Oyetola the winner after holding a re-run in Osogbo, Orolu, Ife North and Ife South local government areas, after it which it announced him vioctor with a total of 255,505 votes while Senator Adeleke scored 255,023 votes. Senator Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had, however appealed the declaration and won it based on the argument that the re-run was not necessary and he won the original contest with 353 votes.
Governor Oyetola is appealing the election tribunal decision but while that is still pending, Senator Adeleke suffered a major setback with the Abuja court presided over by Justice Oathman Musa nullifying his nomination as the PDP candidate. According to the court, Senator Adeleke does not have the minimum requirement to be governor as he does not have O’Levels and there is no record to show that he actually graduated from secondary school.
According to the court, although Senator Adeleke was admitted to Ede Muslim High School in 1976, he could not prove that he finished. Two of his PDP rivals for the nomination Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, had dragged Senator Adeleke to court, accusing him of not possessing the requisite educational qualification for the office of governor and yesterday, the court upheld their petition.
However, Senator Adeleke has vowed to fight on, saying that the judgement is flawed and cannot stand in a higher court. Pointing out that he will appeal the ruling, Senator Adeleke said the judgement subverted justice by ignoring critical evidence to rule against validated facts and submissions.
A spokesman for the Adeleke campaign said: “While we are set to appeal the judgement, we also find it compelling to put the records straight by listing out the fatal flaws in the ruling and why it cannot stand before a superior court. It would be recalled first of all that the matter in question has been addressed by two high court rulings, affirming that in the face of the constitution, Senator Ademola Adeleke is qualified to run for the governorship.
“The two rulings delivered in September 2018 held that Senator Adeleke satisfied the requirement of the law to contest for office. It is trite in law that once a court of coordinate jurisdiction has ruled on a matter, court of similar jurisdiction cannot entertain it but shockingly, the Bwari judge breached this precept to subvert justice.
“Secondly, we want to note that the judge erred in law by failing to take note of the expiration of 180 days for ruling on pre-election matters. Even when a December 2018 judgement with respect to the issue was presented, the judge ignored it, so we note that the judge violated the law by adjudicating over a matter whose filing and the hearing period has expired.
“Thirdly, the West African Examination Council (Waec) was also summoned by the court at the instance of the plaintiff to present evidence of facts. The council produced the listing of all students who sat for the May/June examination in 1981 alongside the senator and the council produced certified true copies of school results.
“The council produced evidence which proved that Senator Ademola Adeleke was indeed educated up to secondary school level as stipulated by law and therefore qualified to run for the governorship, the judge still went ahead to rule otherwise. Waec at no point denounced the secondary school qualification of Senator Adeleke.
“The only statutory body empowered by law to determine the authenticity of secondary results is the West African Examination Council. The council not only witnessed in support of Senator Adeleke but also presented certified true copies of his school results, so what other evidence the judge needs to rule in favour of the senator is not clear.
“Fourthly, the plaintiff shocked by Waec’s testimony again filed a request that the court compel the school principal to appear in court to produce evidence of facts as well as to confirm the authenticity of the statement of results. The principal appeared and confirmed that the statement was a product of the school and that any error on the statement was that of the school, not that of Senator Adeleke.
“The school did not at any point disown the statement of results and the school owned up to the error which was not about forgery but alleged false information. From the foregoing, we affirm that today’s judgement of the Bwari court is a travesty of justice, a purchased ruling designed to negatively affect the outcome of Osun governorship legal tussle and we declare unequivocally that the ruling being so glaringly against tested facts and the law cannot stand.”