Abuja, Nigeria: An Abuja High Court sitting in Bwari Area Council of Abuja on Tuesday Nullified the nomination of Senator Ademola Adeleke as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the September 2018 Governorship Election in Osun State.
Adeleke is a serving Senator representing Osun West District at the National Assembly.
Two Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, had in 2018 barely few days to 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 Sept 22 governorship election in the state on the grounds that he does not possess the requisite educational qualification.
Senator Ademola Adeleke presented a fake school certificate result to enable qualify him to contest for the governorship election in Osun state, Abuja High Court sitting in Bwari ruled on Tuesday.
The court presided over by Justice Oathman Musa therefore nullified the nomination of Adeleke as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the Sept. 2018 Governorship Election.
The court ruled that Adeleke, who represents Osun West Senatorial District at the National Assembly, had a certificate that is fraught with discrepancies and inconsistencies.
The court said that his nomination into governorship election was invalid and therefore not qualified for the office he vied for.
Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, members of All Progressives Congress (APC), in 2018 lodged the complaint before the court few days to the governorship election.
They accused Adeleke of not possessing the requisite educational qualification (secondary school certificate) to contest for the office of governor and prayed the court to disqualify Adeleke from participating in the Sept 22 governorship election.
Justice Musa annulled Adeleke’s nomination on the grounds that Adeleke breached section 177 of the 1999 constitution as amended which stipulates that candidates for the position of governor must be educated up to secondary school level.
According to Justice Musa, 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 no longer seen in the school’s register from 1980.
Justice Musa 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.
While the suite was in court Adeleke went ahead to contest the election and was defeated by Mr. Gboyega Oyetola in a supplementary election following a stalemate in the main poll.
He took his case to the Osun state governorship election petition tribunal which overturned the decision of INEC.
In a split judgement, the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Apo, on Friday, nullified the election of the Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to him as winner of the September 2018 Election.
However, the chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo upheld the whole election.
In the majority judgment delivered by Justice Peter Obiara, the tribunal set aside the rerun election conducted on September 27, 2018 for being unlawful.
Justice Obiora held that the poll conducted in the seven units is unknown by law because INEC has no power to conduct it.
The tribunal declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP), Adeleke in the governorship election as the duly elected governor and ordered INEC to immediately issue him with Certificate of Return.
The tribunal agreed that PDP and Adeleke established beyond reasonable doubt that INEC did not comply substantially with the Electoral Act in 17 polling units.
Consequently, over 2,000 votes credited to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Oyetola by INEC were deducted from the tribunal, while over 1,000 votes said to have been scored by the PDP and its candidate were also removed from their total votes.
The majority judgment held that the returning officer who cancelled the result in the affected units after the announcement had no power to have done so.
Prof. Joseph Fuwape, vice chancellor of the University of Technology, Akure was the Returning Officer for the Sept. 22 election
Fuwape said the election was inconclusive because 3498 votes were cancelled as a result of ballot box snatching that occurred in some polling units during the election.
The affected polling units were Ife North, (one polling unit), Ife south, (two polling units), Orolu,( three polling units) and Osogbo, one polling unit.
According to Fuwape, Sen. Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 254,698 votes, while Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), scored 254, 345 votes. He thus called for rerun elections at the polling units where results were cancelled.
The majority judgment after deductions of the votes recorded in the rerun poll gave Adeleke’s score as 253777 and Oyetola’s as 253,476.
In the minority judgment, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, Chairman of the tribunal, held that the petitioners, PDP and Adeleke failed to prove how the non-compliance of non-recording in the columns of accredited votes and account of ballots in the result sheets substantially affected the final results.
He further stated that even when non substantial compliance affects the outcome of the election, the tribunal, by virtue of section 140(2) of the Electoral Act, does not have the power to subtract the votes affected by the non-compliance from the scores of the candidates and announce a winner.
According to him the tribunal only has the power to nullify the results of the Polling units affected by the noncompliance and order a supplementary poll.
He concluded that even if the non-compliance was substantial, it was not proved by the petitioners.