The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday reserved judgment on the nullification of Senator Ademola Adeleke’s candidacy to contest the September 2018 Osun State governorship election on the grounds of forged academic qualifications.
Adeleke, who contested the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the polls by the Election Petitions Tribunal.
But Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Congress, who was initially declared the winner of the election, approached the Court of Appeal and won.
Justice Othman Musa of the FCT High Court in Bwari, Abuja on April 2, 2019 invalidated Adeleke’s status as the candidate of the PDP for the election following a suit challenging the authenticity of the academic qualifications he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The respondents in the matter are the APC, INEC and Oyetola.
Justice Jauro Adamu, leading two other justices, reserved judgment after counsel for the parties had adopted their written addresses.
Lawyer for the PDP, Emmanuel Enoidem, submitted that the trial court erred in law in arriving at its decision.
Enoidem said the PDP had relied on Sections 285(9) 285(11) and 285(12) to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to try Adeleke.
He said Adeleke’s status as the candidate of the party for the election had no connection with the suit challenging the validity of his certificate.
Enoidem also averred that the credentials presented to INEC by the party’s candidate were not forged documents, adding that the electoral body was right to have cleared him for the election.
He urged the court to reverse the judgment and reinstate Adeleke as the duly elected candidate of the PDP for the polls.
NAN reports that APC members Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb instituted the suit, accusing Adeleke of not possessing the requisite academic qualifications to contest the election.
Bankole Akomolafe, counsel for Raheem and Habeeb, urged the court to dismiss the argument advanced by lawyer for the appellant, adding that PDP’s attempt at challenging the jurisdiction of the trial court was not heard.
Akomolafe submitted that the appellant’s action was described by the trial court as an attempt to arrest its judgment.
He said Adeleke was found to have deceived the electoral body with fake certificate in order to be cleared to contest the election.
Akomolafe urged the appellate court discountenance Enoidem’s depositions and uphold the judgment of the trial court.
The trial court’s findings showed that Adeleke was admitted to Ede Muslim High School, Ede, Osun State in 1976, but without a record showing that he graduated.
The court also found that the results Adeleke attached to his INEC Form CF001 contradicted the one presented to the court by the Principal of Ede Muslim High School where he claimed to have graduated.
Adeleke has since approached the Supreme Court to overrule the May 9 ruling of the Appeal Court. – Punch.