By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, will on May 8, commence hearing of the appeal lodged by a Senator representing Osun West Senatorial District, Sen. Ademola Adeleke.
Adeleke is challenging the nullification of his nomination as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the September 2018 Governorship Election in Osun State.
When the matter came up yesterday, a party to the appeal, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was not represented in court.
Consequent to that, the court had to adjourn the matter to the new date and ordered that hearing notices be served on all the parties in the matter.
The three-member panel of justices of the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya said the separate appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be heard together with the main appeal brought before the court by Osun state governorship candidate of the PDP in the last governorship election held in the state on the next adjourned date.
The PDP has through its counsel, Emmanuel Enoidem, is asking the appellate court to upturn the ruling of the High Court of the Federal Capital that nullified the nomination of their candidate for the election.
Justice Oathman Musa of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, sitting in Bwari, had last month in a judgment, nullified Adeleke’s nomination as the candidate of the PDP in the September 2018 Governorship Election in Osun State.
The judge hinged his decision the grounds that he (Adeleke) contravened section 177 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The section stipulated that candidates for the position of governor must be educated up to secondary school level.
Adeleke, insisted that the judge erred in law by going out of his way to source for evidence to arrive at his “unjust conclusion”.
He further posited that the court erred particularly when it ignored WAEC evidence that Adeleke was educated up to Secondary School level as required by law.
Recalled that two Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, had before the governorship election in Osun State dragged Adeleke to court, accusing him of not possessing the requisite educational qualification (secondary school certificate) to contest for the office of governor.
They prayed the court for an order to disqualify Adeleke from participating in the September 22, 2018 governorship election in the state on the grounds that he does not possess the requisite educational qualification.
Justice Musa, in his judgment, held that 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.
The judge further stated that the result Adeleke attached to his 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 West African Examination Council (WAEC) during the court’s proceedings confirmed that Adeleke sat for the May/June examination of the council in 1981.
The council, in an affidavit deposed to by one Osindeinde Adewunmi and filed at the registry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court confirmed that Adeleke sat for the Senior Secondary School exams in May/June 1981.
The confirmation was contained in a four paragraph affidavit filed in compliance with the order of Justice Musa requesting the examination body to confirm whether the governorship candidate sat for the 1981 exams.
Justice Musa, had in a ruling delivered on September 11 directed that WAEC should depose an affidavit, to either deny or confirm that Adeleke sat for the Exams the Council conducted at Ede Muslim High School in Ede, Osun State, in 1981.
It equally said the examination body should file the ledger containing results of Ademola and his mates with whom he sat for the examinations, as well the verifying affidavit, within five days of being served with the enrolled order dated September 11, last year.
WAEC however in the sworn affidavit confirmed that, Adeleke with center 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 School situate at P.O. Box 6 Yidi Road, Ede, State of Osun.
Accompanying the affidavit was a ledger containing the result of all candidates (001-221) who sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in the said school.
The certified true copy of the ledger which is marked as exhibit WA1, however showed that Senator Adeleke, sat for only English Language in the examination.
The plaintiffs, through their counsel, Bankole Akomolafe, on September 11 claimed that the PDP candidate did not sit for the WAEC examination in 1981 because the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination had not been introduced in the country as at then.
They further alleged that the NECO examination he claimed to have sat for could not be genuine because National Examination Council (NECO) had not been established at the time Adeleke claimed to have sat for the examination.