Just In: Tribunal Declares Ademola Adeleke Winner Of Osun Governorship Election

The Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal has declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, as the winner of the poll.

The tribunal, in its ruling, declared the Osun governorship election re-run illegal.

It stated that the exercise was borne out of an illegal cancellation of results in the polling units during the September 22, 2018 original poll.

The Returning Officers who declared the results cancelled, according to the Tribunal, lakced the power to do it.

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Examination Malpractice: Senator Adeleke Arraigned, Released On Personal Recognition

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the recent Osun State governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, was arraigned on Wednesday and granted bail on personal recognizance by the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.

Senator Adeleke, his brother, Sikiru Adeleke, and three others were arraigned on a four count charge of examination malpractice.

The others are: Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (Principal, Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro Osun State), Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (school registrar) and Dare Samuel Olutope (a teacher).

Upon their arraignment Wednesday by the Federal Government, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Counsel to Senator Adeleke, Chief Alex Izinyon SAN, informed the court of a bail application dated and filed on October 12.

He informed the court that Senator Adeleke was currently enjoying administrative bail granted him by the police and had not jump bail, adding that Adeleke is a serving Senator and would always appear in court for his trial if released on bail.

Similarly, counsel to the second and third defendants, Nathaniel Oke SAN and Abdulsalam Abdulfatah, respectively, moved the bail applications for their clients, while the court declined attempt by Oke to move an oral application for the 4th and 5th defendants.

However, prosecution counsel, Simon Laugh, did not oppose the bail applications.

In a short ruling, trial judge, Justice I. E. Ekwo, who noted that bail was at the discretion of the court, granted the applications as prayed adding that the prosecution while not opposing the motion admitted that the defendants were all on administrative bail.

Consequently, the judge announced bail for Adeleke on self-recognizance while the 2nd and 3rd defendants were granted bail in the sum of N2m each.

Senator Adeleke, as part of his bail conditions, shall sign an undertaken to always attend trial and shall not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.

The second and third defendants on their part are to provide a surety each in the sum of N2m. The sureties in addition shall be owners of landed property in Abuja, which shall be verified by the registrar of the court.

They are also to submit their international passports to the court and can only travel out of the country upon obtaining permission from the court.

However, Justice Ekwo ordered the remand in prison custody of the 4th and 5th defendants, Gbadamosi Ojo (school registrar) and Dare Olutope (a teacher) since they did not apply for bail.

He subsequently adjourned till December 17, 18 and 19 for trial.

In the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/156/2018, the defendants are accused of fraudulently, through personation, registering as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro Osun State to enable them sit for the National Examination Council (NECO) examination of June/July 2017.

In the first count preferred against the defendants, the prosecution alleged that the five defendants “conspired to commit felony, to wit: examination malpractices, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 10 of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004”.

In count 2, the prosecution alleged that the three members of staff of the school acted in concert by aiding and abetting “the commission of examination malpractice by personation” when they alleged “registered Senator Ademola Adeleke and Sikiru Adeleke” while knowing or having “reasons to believe that they are not students of the school”.

The alleged offence was said to be contrary to Section 9(1) of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.

In count three, the two Adelekes were accused of acting in concert, and “personated as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School when you fraudulently registered as students of the school in the June/July, 2017 NECO”.

The offence is said to be contrary to Section 3(2) of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.

The fourth count accused the three members of staff of the school of “acting in concert” and while “saddled with the responsibilities of registering students of your school in the June/July 2017 NECO examination, breached that duty by registering Senator Ademola Adeleke and Sikiru Adeleke as students of your school in the June/July 2017 NECO examination when you know or had reasons to believe that they are not students of the school”.

The fourth count was said to be contrary to Section 10(a) and punishable under Section 3(2) of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.

ThisDAY

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Osun Election Was Rigged – PDP Alleges

The Osun State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of allegedly conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the Thursday’s governorship rerun election in the state.

The State’s PDP Chairman, Hon. Soji Adagunodo, at a press conference in Ede, also stated that the gubernatorial election was accompanied with violence.

Similarly, the PDP’s candidate in the election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, vowed to use both physical and legal means to upturn the result of the poll in his favour.

The senator said he sympathised with those that were wounded during the election, promising that those arrested would be released soon.

He also expressed gratitude to domestic and international observers for their impartial coverage of the election allegedly marred by violence, malpractices and irregularities.

Adeleke added that the people of Osun must remain vigilant but calm.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, announced Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola of the APC as duly elected and winner of the rerun election after it had declared the Sept. 22 governorship election inconclusive.

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Osun: Election As Theatre, By Reuben Abati

What is going on in Osun state right now is nothing short of political theatre. It is keeping us all entertained, but it has also turned so many observers into emergency lawyers. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the Osun Gubernatorial election of September 22 inconclusive and has ordered a supplementary election at seven polling centres in four local councils on September 27.

Many Nigerians are taking a keen interest in the Osun election. This should not be surprising. Every election season in Nigeria, what the law says or does not say is the concern of all kinds of experts who suddenly discover the country’s Constitution and call it out into action as they deem fit. In the last 48 hours, the Nigerian public space has been suffused with relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution on elections, with the more popular references being Sections 1(2), 69 and 179 (2) of the Constitution and Sections 68 (c), 69 and 153 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). Many interested parties have also been dredging up decided cases from the past.

It is really entertaining to see both lawyers and non-lawyers alike referring to precedents from previous elections in Kogi, Bauchi, Edo, Katsina states, and court rulings in Osunbor vs Oshiomhole, Nwobasi vs  Ogbaga and 2 ors.,  and Faleke vs INEC.

What are the issues? Issue 1: whether INEC has acted rightly within the purview of the law by declaring the Osun Gubernatorial election inconclusive? Issue 2: whether a candidate who won a simple majority and one-quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the local councils in the state as required under Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution, can be denied a prompt declaration on the grounds that the margin of his victory is lower than the number of cancelled votes? Issue 3: whether the guidelines provided for in the Electoral Act 2010, and the INEC Manual for Election officials, can override the Constitution? Issue 4: whether INEC has the powers to declare an election inconclusive? Issue 5: whether Senator Ademola Adeleke having been the first to go past the post in the Osun Gubernatorial election of September 22 should have been declared winner of the election?

Opinions on the matter are divided; even lawyers are offering contradictory opinions. Those who do not know what the Constitution looks like have also been busy quoting it. It is partly for this reason that I have argued elsewhere that the wise option before the People’s Democratic party (PDP) and its Osun Gubernatorial candidate, Ademola Adeleke, would be to go to court and seek an interlocutory injunction to stop INEC from going ahead with the proposed re-run until the more substantive issues in the case have been determined. They may also seek an order of mandamus from the court asking INEC to declare the results of the Osun State Gubernatorial election held on September 22. As at the time of this writing, neither the PDP nor Senator Ademola Adeleke has taken this course of action. They probably have taken the decision to participate in the rerun election.

Once they do so, they may no longer be in a position to raise any a posterioriprotest about the election of September 22, as the principle of estoppel by conduct could automatically kick in, and be held against them, and that election would be validly inchoate as INEC has declared. Is it not better to put something on record?  I am all for testing the law on the issues outlined above, more so as there has been a repeated tendency on the part of INEC, under President Muhammadu Buhari to use the tool of “inconclusive elections” mostly in elections where the ruling party seems to find it difficult to have its way. But why would the PDP and its candidate be reluctant to attempt a legal response at this point?  Over-confidence that they will win? Or hope that they could still resort to the Election Petitions Tribunal later, if the need arises?

Adeleke and the PDP are probably aware of the declaration by Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court at the commencement of the new Legal Year 2018/2019 last week. His Lordship disclosed that High Court Judges have been directed not to grant any stay or interlocutory injunctions in political cases. I don’t think anyone who needs the protection of the courts should be deterred by this. While it is advisable to protect the courts from the antics of political gladiators, I find His Lordship’s directive strange, for it would appear that what he has done is to ask the High Court to divest itself of its own jurisdiction. How can a court divest itself of its own jurisdiction through administrative fiat? Would it not be better to take every case on its own merit, expeditiously of course, and to ensure that the end of justice is served?

And perhaps, Adeleke and the PDP are also intimidated by the reference, in the last two days, to the Supreme Court decision in Faleke vs INEC and anor. (SC. 648/2016) NGSC 84 which is being relied upon by a few to justify INEC’s decision on the September 22 Osun election. It must be noted to start with that the material facts in that case are different, even if there are clear and unambiguous pronouncements in that ruling on the value of election guidelines, the powers of INEC to declare an election inchoate and the effect of Section 179 (2) (a) (b) of the Constitution. My suspicion is that the jurisprudence in Faleke’s case is now being exploited for political reasons. The Supreme Court in that case, may have unwittingly created an argument that it did not originally anticipate.  There are unanswered questions: Can we use the Electoral Act or any other subsidiary legislation to vary the provisions of the Constitution? Can we use a subsidiary legislation to write into the Constitution what is not in it?  I raise these questions for reflection.

This space not being a court of law, I shall proceed no further on this score. It is entirely up to Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party, to decide whether to go to court or not. But with Adeleke having led the Osun Gubernatorial polls with 254, 698 votes to Gboyega Oyetola (APC)’s 254, 345, leaving a margin of 353, and the former fulfilling the conditions in Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, it can be said that the sentiments of the people of Osun state are with Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP.

The incumbent Governor of Osun State, Raufu Aregbesola and other APC leaders who before Sept. 22 had thought that they would win the election easily must have been  shocked that the PDP candidate could put up such a strong performance. What they will also not easily admit is that Adeleke’s performance is from all indications, a vote against Aregbesola and the APC. It is a comment on the prevailing order in that state: a vote against non-payment of salaries, and pensions, and a comment on the arrogance of the APC elite. It has taken a dancing Senator to remind Governor Aregbesola of the extent of his party’s popularity in Osun state. That popularity contest will be determined this week.

My sympathy is with Ademola Adeleke, and not necessarily because he has the best credentials for the job, but if he is the choice of the people of Osun State, the people should be allowed to make their choice and no deliberate obstacles should be placed in their way.  There is probably nothing his opponents have not done to stop him. He was accused of not having the requisite educational qualification for the office: secondary education – and was taken to court. The Court summoned the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and asked for clarification via a sworn  affidavit.  Adeleke was vindicated when the Examinations Council confirmed that he indeed sat for the School Certificate Examination in 1980/81. His critics didn’t give up.

They made big capital out of the fact that the Senator, as a secondary school student got an F9 in English language. They turned this into a butt of jokes, except that the law does not require Nigerian politicians to have anything more than fail grades for them to be eligible for office. With his F9 in English, Adeleke can in fact sometime in the future emerge as president or Vice President of Nigeria! His critics still wouldn’t give up. Three days to the election, the Police Headquarters in Abuja disclosed that Ademola Adeleke and one Sikiru Adeleke are the subject of an investigation involving an alleged fraudulent procurement of NECO certificates. They wanted him to report in Abuja. The president had to intervene and ask the Inspector-General of Police to back off. Adeleke was further cast in the image of a bumbler without brains who only knows how to dance all over the place.

I think the fellow himself has not helped matters in this regard, though, but that is certainly not the focus of this commentary. What is certain is that every ad-hominem attack on Senator Adeleke has totally failed. He remains popular with the people of Osun state.

This is the same man the people of Osun State gave majority votes on Saturday, September 22 in a Gubernatorial election that paraded 48 political parties and candidates, and they will probably do so again on Thursday. By hounding Ademola Adeleke with everything at their disposal, the Osun APC and their allies elsewhere, have turned him into the ordinary people’s hero. Public sentiment is in his favour, either in Osun or anywhere else in Nigeria, because of the perceived desperation of the APC. The declaration of the September 22 election merely fuels existing suspicions and the public’s sentiments. This is the more reason why INEC’s integrity and credibility is at stake. It must do everything to demonstrate that it is indeed an independent and unbiased umpire and not an agent of the ruling party. Both INEC and the ruling party must be seen to be consolidating our democracy and do nothing to undermine the country’s jurisprudence.

I don’t know whether the INEC Chairman and the Returning Officer for Osun watched the recent US Open Grand Slam final match between Serena Williams and the young Japanese tennis player, Naomi Osaka. There was a lot at stake in that match. If Serena Williams won, she would have matched the record 24 Grand Slam titles won by Australian player, Margaret Court. If Naomi Osaka won, she would be the first Japanese to win the US Open Grand Slam singles championship.  But at the end of the match, both players were not the issue, even if Osaka won, but the chair umpire of the match who was accused of harsh calls against Serena Williams. Serena received a code violation warning for smashing her racket, she was accused of cheating, she was penalized a game for “verbal abuse.” The drama took the sweetness out of Naomi Osaka’s victory. INEC as umpire in the Osun election should avoid the temptation to turn itself into an issue.

Senator Ademola Adeleke and his party may be ahead with 353 votes so far, but having chosen to participate in the rerun, they must be aware that the two-horse race they have signed up for on Thursday can go in either direction. They must not smash their rackets. They must eschew verbal abuse. They should keep their eyes on the ball. They must appeal to the people of Osun state to be vigilant and the voters in the local councils where the rerun will be held should come out en masse as they did last Saturday. One more piece of advice for Adeleke: to win that election, he must cultivate the friendship of other opposition leaders in the State.

Other PDP leaders, including Senate President Bukola Saraki and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, have been helping him to talk to Senator Iyiola Omisore, who has now emerged as the “beautiful bride” of the supplementary election, since most of the votes at stake on Thursday are concentrated in his political strongholds – Ife North and Ife South. Adeleke should reach out to him personally, and encourage him to mobilise his supporters to back the PDP- a party he defected from just before this same election.

The APC are also talking to Omisore and he has set up a technical team to weigh the options before the Osun State Social Democratic Party (SDP). Omisore faces a critical moment in his political career.  He must make a wise choice. Victory for Adeleke will shore up INEC’s credibility, allay all fears of manipulation, and create opportunity for the emergence of an inclusive government in Osun State, with implications for subsequent elections in 2019. But of course, the APC is not going to drop the ball either on account of public sentiments. Governor Raufu Aregbesola will seek to protect his legacy and future, and also seek to avoid the “Ekiti outcome. “ Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola will also want victory for himself. May the people’s will prevail.

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Just In: Senator Adeleke To Appear Before Police Over Alleged ‘Exam Malpractice’

The police have summoned Senator Ademola Adeleke, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Osun state governorship election, for alleged examination malpractice and criminal conspiracy.

In a statement Wednesday, Jimoh Moshood, police spokesman, said Adeleke and Sikiru, his brother, sat for the National Examination Council Examination (NECO) as internal candidates in 2017, “impersonating” students of OJO/Aro Community Grammar School in Osun state.

The police said the alleged crime was facilitated by the principal of the school, and two other members of staff who are under investigation and being charged to court.

The force asked the senator and the four others allegedly involved to report to the force headquarters in Abuja for “immediate” arraignment in court.

Moshood said charges of examination malpractice, criminal conspiracy, impersonation and breach of duty have been filed against the five at the federal high court in Abuja.

 

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Osun 2018: Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Adeleke’s Eligibility

An Osun State High Court has dismissed another suit challenging the candidacy of Senator Ademola Adeleke in the September 22 governorship election in the state.

Justice David Oladimeji struck out the case on Monday following the withdrawal of the suit by the plaintiffs, Mr Oyetunji Suredi and Mr Olagboye Adedamola.

The plaintiffs had approached the court seeking the nullification of the choice of Senator Adeleke as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and the declaration of Akin Ogunbiyi as the authentic party flagbearer in the poll.

Justice Oladimeji, in his response, said all other issues could be taken care of while the instruction of the plaintiffs should be effected.

On his part, Senator Adeleke’s counsel, Mr Nathaniel Oke, welcomed the decision to withdraw the case and urged the judge to dismiss the case.

Giving his ruling in Osogbo, the state capital, Justice Oladimeji dismissed the case and awarded N50,000 against the plaintiffs.

He also asked the plaintiffs to go back to their party for internal unity.

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Court Dismisses Suit Seeking To Disqualify Adeleke As Osun PDP Guber Candidate

An Osun State High Court presided over by Justice David Oladimeji, has dismissed the suit seeking to stop Senator Ademola Adeleke as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the September 22 election.

The Punch reports that Justice Oladimeji dismissed the suit in the ruling he delivered on Wednesday.

Two members of the PDP: Rasheed Olabayo and Idowu Oluwaseun had filed a suit seeking an order of the court to stop Adeleke as the candidate of the PDP because he did not have the required educational certificate to contest the poll.

But the judge held that he found out that the first defendant was educated up to secondary school level and that the plaintiffs also admitted this in their affidavit.

He, however, said the documents submitted by Adeleke contained some serious and damaging irregularities but added that the plaintiffs did not raise the issue of forgery in the origination summon and failed to prove that the documents were forged.

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WAEC Certificate Scandal: Fifth Columnists Behind My Ordeal, Says Adeleke

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September 22 election, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has accused those he called “fifth columnists” for his travail.

Addressing reporters in Abuja yesterday, Director of Media and Publicity, Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, said fifth columnists were playing out an alleged “destructive script of their paymaster” against the PDP.

Rasheed noted that while the campaign organisation recognised the right of any aggrieved aspirant to seek redress, the development, he said, raised discomforting questions about the real motive of the challenging camp.

Recall that A High Court sitting in Osun State on Thursday, gave Senator Adeleke, seven days to produce his secondary school certificate.

In his ruling on the ex-parte application filed by Rasheed Olabayo and Oluwaseun Idowu, Justice David Oladimeji, held that granting the leave to restrain the PDP from presenting Adeleke as its candidate due to his inability to present his school certificate to the party may subject the court to mockery, if eventually he presents the certificate.

The judge advised the PDP candidate to present his secondary school certificate before the court on Wednesday, August 1.

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