The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, discharged a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, of charges of examination malpractices.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order following an amendment of the charges which saw Adeleke’s name dropped as a defendant in the case.
The prosecuting counsel, Simon Lough, had told Justice Ekwo, on Thursday, that the prosecution decided to drop Adeleke’s name due to his continued absence from court which continued to stall the trial.
Adeleke has not appeared in court since he was granted permission to travel to the United States of America, on health grounds, on May 6, 2019.
The court had ordered him to return to Nigeria by June 7, 2019. Other defendants in the case were re-arraigned on Friday.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges when their plea was taken on Friday. The defendants are: Sikiru Adeleke, the principal of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Alhaji Aregbesola Muftau; the registrar of the school, Gbadamosi Ojo; and a teacher in the school, Dare Samuel Olutope.
The defence lawyer, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), who did not oppose the application for the amendment of the charges, however, urged the judge to make a consequential order discharging and acquitting Adeleke.
Reacting, Lough, partly opposed the request saying the appropriate order the court could make was to discharge the defendant.
Justice Ekwo who had adjourned the ruling on the slight disagreement, issued an order discharging the defendant at the resumed sitting on Friday.
Adeleke who contested the September 22, 2018, Osun State governorship election, was arraigned along with others on October 31 of the same year.
They were accused of examination malpractices by fraudulently, through impersonation, registering Adeleke and another Sikiru Adeleke, as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, in Ojo-Aro in Osun State, for the National Examination Council’s June/July 2017 Senior School Certificate Examination in February, 2017.