Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
An Osun State High sitting in Osogbo, the state capital, Wednesday dismissed a suit challenging the eligibility of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September 22 governorship election in the state.
It would be recalled that the plaintiffs, Rasheed Olabayo and Oluwaseun Idowu, who are members of the PDP in Osun had alleged that Adeleke did not possess Secondary School Certificate and urged the court to restrain PDP from presenting him to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as candidate of the party.
They also asked the court to restrain INEC from accepting Adeleke from PDP as its candidate on the basis that the Senator was not qualified, quoting Section 177 (d) of the 1999 Constitution.
In his ruling Wednesday, the court presided over by Justice David Oladimeji noted that the claims of the plaintiffs that Adeleke did not possess school certificate cannot disqualify him from contesting the election because the constitution did not state that a candidate for the office of the governor must possess a certificate.
Justice Oladimeji stressed that the constitution only stipulated that the candidate must be educated up to secondary school level and that with the acknowledgement of the plaintiffs that the Senator attended Ede Grammar School, the senator was deemed to be educated up to the stipulated level.
The court added that even though the documents submitted by Adeleke’s counsel as prove of the Senator’s education up to the required level “contains serious and damaging irregularities”, the documents are enough since the originating summon bothered strictly on none possession of certificate, and not forgery.
He further noted that since the issue of forgery was a criminal matter, the signatory to the documents, the Principal of Muslim Grammar School, had to be summoned to give evidence.
“It is a settled law, that the signatory has to be called to disown them (the documents) before they can be regarded as forged documents”
“When a person alleges forgery, he must prove the ingredients of forgery with the particulars he relied upon. In any case, allegation of a criminal matter in a civil case must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. This case was not pleaded nor proved”, Justice Oladimeji declared.
The judge struck out the case saying that whether Adeleke obtained a certificate or not cannot be used to disqualify him and that the fact that he attended the school is enough for him to contest the governorship election.
However, a fresh case bordering on allegations of certificate forgery was on Monday filed by two PDP members against Senator Adeleke before the same court.