By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The trial of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2018 governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, resumed Wednesday in Abuja with the police tendering a National Examination Council (NECO) result sheet allegedly issued in the name of the defendant as one of the candidates for the 2017 exams.
The exams script and the result sheet which were tendered by the police through one of its witnesses, Odesola Emmanuel, a supervisor in the NECO exam conducted in June 20, 2017 at the Ojo-Aro Community Grammer School in Egbedore Local Government Area of Osun State was admitted as exhibit.
Controversy however arose when the witness, who claimed he supervised the exams and took the attendance of the students, informed Justice Inyang Ekwo that he did not see Adeleke in the exam hall throughout the examination period.
Emmanuel, who was led in evidence by Deputy Police Commissioner and prosecuting counsel, Simon Lough, told the court that it would not be difficult for him to notice the presence of Adeleke in the exam hall because he is a public figure and popular politician.
The witness however claimed that he saw one Sikirudeen Adeleke who was fairly old among the students that participated in the exam. Emmanuel, who told the court that he had being in the teaching job for the past 10 years, narrated to the court that he took notice of the presence of the said Sikiru Adeleke because he was fairly old and comported himself in an orderly manner during the exam period.
Under cross examination by Adeleke’s lawyer, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), the witness said that there was no photo album for the 58 students who participated in the exam and with which he would have identified the students one after the other with the identity cards issued to them by the exam body.
The witness said that although the availability of photo album was key to the exam he however did not write any report on its absence and the consequences on the exam.
Answering a question, the witness stated that it was not possible for NECO to issue result for any student who did not participate in its examination, adding that he would be very much surprised if such a thing happened in the matter of Adeleke.
Apart from the presence of five matured students in the exam hall, the witness told the court that the examination was peaceful, free and fair and that there were no malpractices or swapping of exam paper.
The matter has been adjourned till June 10, 2018 for continuation of trial.
In a related development, Senator Adeleke has faulted the judgment of an Abuja High Court which nullified his nomination as the candidate of the PDP in the 2018 governorship election in Osun State.
In a statement signed by one Niyi Owolade on behalf of Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation, Adeleke who was recently returned as the winner of the September 2018 governorship election by the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal said Justice Oathman Musa subverted justice by ignoring four critical evidences to rule against validated facts and submissions.
Owolade said while they are set to appeal the judgment, it has become necessary for them to put the records straight by listing the fatal flaws in the ruling and why it cannot stand before any court.
He said first and foremost that the matter in question has been addressed by two High Courts’ ruling, which affirmed that in the face of the constitution, Adeleke was qualified to run for the governorship office.
“The two rulings delivered in September 2018 held that Senator Adeleke satisfied all requirements of the law to contest for office.
“The second point they canvassed was that the judge further erred in law by failing to take note of the expiration of 180 days for ruling on pre-election matters, while the third point was that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) was also subpoened by the court at the instance of the two APC plaintiffs presented evidence of facts that Adeleke sat for the WASC exams.
“The council produced the listing of all students who sat for the May/June examination in 1981 alongside the senator in addition to the certified true copies of his school certificate result.
“From the evidence produced by the Council, it is crystal clear that Senator Ademola Adeleke was indeed educated beyond the minimum requirement of ‘up to secondary school level’ as stipulated by law and therefore qualified to run for the office of governor in accordance with section 177 (D) of 1999 CFRN (as amended). Notwithstanding, the judge still went ahead to rule otherwise,” the statement added.