The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday reserved judgment in the nullification of Senator Ademola Adeleke’s candidacy to contest the Osun State September 2018 governorship election on account of forged credentials.
Adeleke, who contested the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, was returned winner by the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal after Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress was declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Justice Othman Musa of the FCT High Court in Bwari, Abuja had on April 2 invalidated Adeleke’s status as PDP governorship candidate following a suit challenging the authenticity of the credentials he presented to the electoral body.
The respondents in the matter are INEC, APC and Oyetola.
Justice Jauro Adamu, leading two other justices, reserved judgment after counsel for parties had adopted their written addresses.
Emmanuel Enoidem, Counsel for PDP, 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 in the governorship election had no nexus with the suit that challenged 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 therefore, urged the court to reverse the judgment and reinstate Adeleke as the duly elected candidate of the PDP who was returned winner of the Osun State governorship election.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Wahab Raheem and Adam Habeeb, both of the Osun State chapter of the APC, instituted the suit, accusing Adeleke of not possessing the requisite educational qualification.
Bankole Akomolafe, Counsel for Raheem and Habeeb, urged the court to dismiss the argument advanced by counsel 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 therefore urged the court to take judicial notice of the record of proceedings from the trial court, adding that the PDP did not at any point file motion that challenged the jurisdiction of the court.
He said Adeleke was found to have deceived the electoral body with fake certificate in order to be cleared to contest the Osun State governorship 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 into 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 INEC’s form CF001 contradicted the one presented to the court by the Principal of Ede Muslim High School, where he claimed to have graduated.
The last of the controversy of who finally occupies the coveted seat may not have been heard as Adeleke has approached the Supreme Court to test the May 9 decision of the appellate court, which upheld the April 2 judgment of the trial court.