Certificate Saga: Senator Adeleke’s Out Of Court Settlement Hits Rock
Trouble seems not to be over yet for Senator Ademola Adeleke, the candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP), for the forthcoming governorship election in Osun State, as attempts to settle the suit challenging his eligibility to contest the election out of court has hit the rock. An Osun State high court sitting in Osogbo yesterday entertained preliminary objections and counter affidavits in respect of the suit and adjourned the case till tomorrow, for ruling on the plaintiffs’ prayers before the court. Citing section 177(d) of Nigeria constitution, the plaintiffs, Mr Rasheed Olatunji and Mr. Idowu Oluwaseun had on 23rd of July 2018 approached the court contending that the PDP candidate was not eligible to participate in the primary election of the party because he doesn’t possess minimum required educational qualification, and prayed the court to set the election aside. On 26th of July, 2018 at the resumed hearing of the matter, the court adjourned the case till August 1st for definite hearing but the process was stalled following a request by the plaintiffs for out of court settlement, a development that led to further adjournment of the case to 6th of August, 2018. Appearing before the court yesterday, Barrister Olufemi Ayandoku, the lead counsel to the plaintiffs revealed that the parties could not go on with the dialogue and that the parties would have to lock horns since barrister Edmund Biriomoni, the counsel to Ademola Adeleke had filed other preliminary objections and written on the prayers of the plaintiffs. The counsels thereafter put the dialogue behind and expressed readiness to go on with the case. In his argument, Biriomini asked the court to strike out the motion on notice for want of competence and jurisdiction, pointing out that the Federal High Court is in position to decide the case. The respondent in opposition to the suit, filed three affidavits and written address deposed to by Adeleke. On the motion of the notice, Biriomoni stressed that one need not pass secondary school certificate examination and that only proof of education up to the level is enough to make one eligible for a governorship position. However, the plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the Testimonials and the Statement of Results presented by counsel to Senator Adeleke on the Senator’s education up to secondary school level, submitted before the court and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, were forged. He noted that Osun State was created in 1991 and that the document which was dated and purportedly issued in 1988 at Muslim Grammar School Ede could not have originated from Osun State because as of the said date Ede was in Oyo State. He also added that the examination, Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE) which the senator claimed to have sat for was not in existence as of 1981 when he claimed to have written the examination. He cited Section 31 (5) of the Electoral Law which stipulated that any person can approach the court if any candidate present false affidavit or document to INEC. The court then adjourned the case till Wednesday, 8th August, 2018 for judgement on the suit.