- Stop acting APC script, says PDP
- Reject continuity in hardship, Saraki urges voters
Omololu Ogunmade, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
With three days to the governorship election in Osun State, the police Wednesday summoned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, for alleged examination malpractice and criminal conspiracy.
The summons which came a few hours after the management of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cleared the governorship candidate in the suit filed to challenge his eligibility in the election, was however, suspended on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A presidency source said the president directed the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to suspend the invitation until after the election on Saturday ostensibly to prevent a possible backlash from a weary public that might think the opposition candidate was being harassed.
Expectedly, the invitation drew the ire of PDP, which cautioned the police to desist from acting the script of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against its governorship candidate.
Adeleke, who also represents Osun West Senatorial District at the National Assembly, was dragged before an Abuja High Court by two chieftains of APC, Mr. Wahab Adekunle Raheem and Mr. Adam Omosalewa Habeeb, over alleged certificate forgery.
But when the case came up in the court yesterday, WAEC confirmed that the PDP governorship candidate sat for the May/June examination of the council in 1981.
The council in an affidavit deposed to by one Osindeinde Adewunmi and filed at the registry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, confirmed that Adeleke sat for the West African School Certificate Examination (WASEC) in May/ June 1981.
The confirmation was contained in a four paragraph affidavit filed in compliance with the order of Justice Oathman Musa, requesting the examination body to confirm whether the governorship candidate sat for the 1981 examination or not.
Justice Musa had in a ruling delivered on September 11 directed that WAEC should depose an affidavit, to either deny or confirm that Adeleke, who is currently representing Osun West Senatorial District, sat for the examination, the council conducted at Ede Muslim High School in Ede, Osun State in 1981.
WAEC, however, in the sworn affidavit confirmed that Adeleke with centre number 19645 and candidate number 149 indeed sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in May/June 1981 conducted by the council at Ede Muslim School in Ede, Osun State.
No sooner did WAEC clear Adeleke than the police summoned him for alleged examination malpractice and criminal conspiracy.
In a statement, the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said the PDP governorship candidate and Sikiru, his brother, sat for the National Examinations Council Examination (NECO) as internal candidates in 2017, “impersonating” students of Ojo/Aro Community Grammar School in Osun State.
Moshood 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 had been filed against the five at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The police gave the names of the other accused as Aregbesola Mufutau, Principal of the school; Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo, school staff responsible for the registration of candidates for NECO; and Dare Olutope, school teacher “who facilitated the commission of the crime.”
PDP, CUPP Caution Police to Stop Acting APC Script
Angered by the development, the PDP cautioned the police to desist from acting the script of the APC against Adeleke.
The party, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said, the sudden realisation of allegations that Adeleke was involved in a National Examinations Council (NECO) examination malpractice in 2017, as well as his subsequent invitation by the police, barely two days before the governorship election, was a ploy by the APC to distract the PDP candidate and if possible, put him out of circulation before and during the election.
The opposition party described the latest twist in the Adeleke certificate circus as laughable, trumped-up charges by the police, horrible, nauseating and displeasing.
Ologbondiyan stressed, “While the PDP is in no way against any legitimate effort by any security agency in the discharge of its duties, we totally reject this unrelenting attempt to use trumped up charges to take down our candidate, simply because the APC has realised that he is coasting to victory.
“Perhaps, the police need to be educated that WAEC has already confirmed that Senator Adeleke wrote his WASC examination in 1981, thus ending the earlier unnecessary controversy about his WAEC status.
“Moreover, this is the same police that have not been able to invite the disgraced erstwhile Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who confessed to having a forged NYSC Exemption Certificate or the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and Chairman of the Special Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, whose certificate, WAEC openly told the National Assembly, is fake.”
Besides, the PDP said that there are several leaders in APC, whose certificates have been questioned and which the police have not considered it needful to conduct the littlest investigation.
The PDP therefore, called on the IG to protect the integrity of the Force by immediately calling his officers hounding Adeleke to order.
It noted that the issue of who becomes the governor of Osun State resides with the people of Osun and nothing should be allowed to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the election.
Also, the Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP) has challenged President Buhari to present his certificate, after WAEC had confirmed the certificate of Adeleke.
CUPP in a statement Wednesday in Abuja by its national spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, alleged that the APC had perfected plans with security agencies to arrest and detain leading opposition governorship candidates, Adeleke and Senator Iyiola Omisore of Social Democratic Party (SDP) including their supporters in Osun State 24 hours to Saturday governorship election.
According to him, “The CUPP is pleased with the information that the WAEC has filed the certificate of Senator Adeleke in court clearing the way for the trouncing of the misgoverning APC in Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State by any of the political parties in the CUPP.”
Ugochinyere noted that the last desperate option of causing confusion among voters by pushing for the disqualification of a candidate of one of the coalition’s parties has failed and the APC is on the way out.
He said, “It gladdens our hearts that Senator Adeleke did not hire 13 SANs to frustrate the hearing of the case by filing numerous frivolous applications and appeals like President Buhari did when summoned to court to produce his own certificate.”
Reject Continuity in Hardship, Saraki Urges Voters
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki Wednesday urged the eligible voters in the state to use their sacred votes to reject continuity in suffering and hardship.
Speaking at the grand finale of the mega rally held at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo, for Adeleke, the Senate president charged them to vote for the PDP candidate and put an end to the days of misery and hardship.
He said, “I don’t have too much to say. Wednesday some people came here and told the people of Osun to vote for performance. They said the people should vote for performance and continuity. I have been governor for eight years and chairman of Governors’ Forum, I don’t know any state since 1999 since we started democracy that would have three years not paying their workers and they said that is performance.
“People of Osun, is that performance? Then they said vote continuity. If they say you should vote for performance, is that performance? Will you do that? The story is not long, even where there is Boko Haram, they are paying salaries. Some are owing three months, some one month or maximum five months. There is nowhere in Nigeria for three years, people are not paid salaries. It is enough. This patience is enough. “
“This election on Saturday is not about all of us. It is about the people of Osun. We must send a message to the entire Nigerians, a government that can owe for three years needs to be sent out. Those of you here, it is enough.
“There is no state that is as heavily indebted like this state. On Saturday, let them know that this one cannot be allowed to happen in Osun again. Come out enmasse and vote for PDP. Now that election is about few days, they are paying money. They don’t like you. By the grace of God, Senator Ademola Adeleke is the next governor of Osun State.”
In his speech, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, argued that the APC-led government had collapsed.
He said, “The government of APC has collapsed. From our way from Ibadan to Osogbo, all the roads there have collapsed. Adeleke would fix it. The salaries that have not been paid over the years would be paid by Adeleke. He would fix the economy of Osun. Please, it is time for the people of Osun to take their destinies in their own hands.
“Don’t listen to APC propaganda, enough is enough. The APC government of Buhari is swimming in ocean of corruption. They took $1 billion and say it is for security. People are dying every day in Borno, Taraba, Zamfara, Benue States. What did they use the $1 billion to do? Killings in Nigeria are at the highest level. There is highest level of impunity and I, therefore, present to you a person who will restore and reform government in Osun State beginning from election on Saturday, September 22. You will vote for PDP.”
Also speaking at the rally, a former Vice President and presidential aspirant on the platform of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, noted that from what he was seeing in the state, the PDP was going to win the election and charged the voters to stand and protect their votes.
He urged the people of Osun State not to allow what APC did in Ekiti State to repeat itself, saying the ruling party should be voted out.
Also speaking, a chieftain of the party in the state, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, stressed that this is the time to liberate Osun State from APC, adding that the light has come.
“There is no more darkness; therefore, vote for the PDP; we have different things on the pipeline; stay with your vote, don’t let anybody steal your votes,” Ogunbiyi added.
Speaking, Adeleke said Saturday would be the end of APC in the state.
He noted that pensioners are suffering and pledged to pay workers’ salaries and pensions if elected.